Oh... My... Shammgod!
It is officially God Shammgod Day on theoutlet. February 21st is a special day in my life, so theoutlet is going to focus on a very special basketball player every February 21st. If you don't know the man, you know the move. If you think you don't know the move, you just don't know it's name, or where it came from. But today you are going to learn. This is what Shammgod looks like. This is also what a Shammgod looks like.
If you know the move, that picture really says it all. If you don't know the move, it looks like that guy is either using the wrong hand or the wrong foot. It doesn't look natural. That's the point. I'm going to show you one example of a million on YouTube. For now , we'll just have a quick look at the man himself doing his signature move in the NCAA tournament. It's the shortest (and grainiest) of those million, but it's the essence of the Shammgod, and it's the best place to start.
And with that, a legend was born. Yeah, the legend already existed, but it was a schoolyard thing, a playground thing. It was word of mouth at that point. But this was Providence College, playing in the Elite 8, in the NCAA Tournament, the big stage. And that was also the first real Shammgod I could find anywhere.
God Shammgod was known as Shammgod Wells during his high school years, and played with a guy that was called Ron Artest during his high school years, at La Salle Academy in Manhattan. La Salle was well known for it's hardcore NYC basketball players, and led the nation in name changes. The Coney Island native turned heads with his handles in the 1995 McDonald's All-American Game, but he didn't pull a Shammgod.
So he spent a couple years at Providence, got a name and came out early. (1997 NBA Draft, 2nd round, 45th overall, Washington Wizards) Probably should have waited another year, the NBA wasn't ready for a player like him, more suited to today's game... This is not a biography. It's more about the move than the man.
Suffice it to say, the league was not ready for the man, and he was not given the opportunity to show what he could do. Years later, the most elite of NBA players are using his signature move to absolutely destroy defenders. Maybe once a year, if we are lucky, we see a Kyrie Irving, a Chris Paul, a Russell Westbrook, pull off the most mesmerizing move known in the history of hoops.
I'd just like to note here that only Russ, CP3 and Kyrie really pulled Shammgods in that clip. John Wall technically did a really quick one, but it was more of a quick dribble than an exaggerated Shammgod, which is kind of the point of the Shammgod. T-Mac really just did a one-handed crossover, again not in the spirit of a Shamm. But just look at the still photo of the clip above. That is a Shammgod. I have to say, Chris Paul is the King of the NBA Shammgod. He uses the move to create space to get a jumper. Kyrie uses the Shammgod as a set up for more moves. He is always seeking to put different combinations of moves together. Using the Shamm at the start, in this case, had his defender do a complete 360 trying to stay in front of him. Russ used the move to get to the hoop and draw defenders so he could drop it off for an open dunk. The Shammgod is as diverse as those three players making those three plays.
Lamar Odom once famously pulled off one of the filthiest Shammgods ever caught on tape in a summer tournament with LeBron James, Tracy McGrady and Antoine Walker there to watch.
I love that one. He killed that guy. He danced on him, and then literally danced on him. Sometimes a move just works, sometimes a guy just gets worked. Lamar made that guy work, and made him the work. I thought that was it, the pinnacle of Shammgoddng, if Shammgod was a verb. That guy got Shammgodded. But then I found El Latigo, or in English, The Whip.
Dejan Bodiroga. King of EuroLeague. He won EuroLeague Championships with two different teams, taking home EuroLeague Final Four MVP both times. He was a bad man. Handles, a jumper, and crazy footwork. To call him crafty would be a disservice. No, this guy was Kraft Dinner. Watch him disassemble a young Carmelo Anthony in 2004. (And listen the to song that's playing. That's the cheese on this particular Kraft Dinner.)
But what he's really known for is El Latigo. The Whip.
... Now watch me whip... Carve 'em up Bic! Poor Richard Jefferson, he was unaware. That was in a warm up game for the 2004 Summer Olympics against Serbia. He thought he was coming to eat, he brought a fork. Bodiroga brought a knife, roasted RJ and served him up right on the court.
Bodiroga was not the best player to ever pull out the Whip/Shammgod, but he may have used the move most effectively and he definitely used it most often. And it always worked. I have no idea how he ever learned the move but I'm sure glad he did.
Now back to the man of the day. The man who named himself God, and as only an omnipotent, benevolent being could, blessed us with the holy move: The Shammgod