Ready to feel old? Today is God Shammgod’s 40th birthday. And to celebrate it, the former Providence star—who spent three years in the NBA in the late 1990s before dribbling his way through Poland, China, Saudi Arabia, and several other places overseas—sat down with ESPN.com recently to talk about the legacy that he left behind. Shammgod, now a coach at Providence, established himself as one of the best ballhandlers of his time, and his now-legendary crossover has become one of the most revered moves in hoops history.
Shammgod has gone on the record before and talked about how he taught Kobe Bryant how to dribble more effectively when he was in high school. So in light of Kobe’s recent retirement, ESPN.com asked him about it again. Shammgod was more than happy to talk about teaching Kobe and what he remembers most about him from back then.
"I was taught how to play, so I'm always up for teaching," he said. "When I first played basketball, I couldn't even dribble. Somebody took me under their wing. When I met [Kobe], his father asked me to help, and I said, 'Yeah, no problem.' I didn't do it with the intention of thinking he would end up being who he was. I tell people he's my favorite player, and everybody always [says], 'Oh, 'cause you helped him learn how to dribble.' I'm like, 'Nah.' But you know why? When I first met him, he thought he could be better than Michael Jordan. People thought he was crazy. They were laughing behind his back, saying, 'Who do he think he is? This dude's crazy.' But he believed in himself and he did what he did. Most people would've crumbled because of that."
You can check out Shammgod's full interview here. Crazy to believe that this guy is about 20 years removed from first making a name for himself on the national stage.
Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to email@example.com.