With the NBA draft taking place today, let’s take a look back at a 90’s draft legend, God Shammgod.

It’s been said that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” In theory, that step becomes a linear path towards a perceived destination of success. However, the deeper we get into the journey the more we realize success is not always a straight line. It’s more of a squiggly one as illustrated by comedian Demetri Martin in his book.

success squiggly line
For God Shammgod, his first step an ankle breaking crossover, has been the impetus for a lifelong journey from Harlem, to Providence RI and to a handful of foreign countries. The move has been credited with defining a generation of basketball players. It has also been the manifestation of an irrepressible spirit for the father of four boys ages 5, 9, 14, and 20.

Popularized in the 90s and dubbed “The Shammgod” the fearless guard raised the profile of the move by the flair and unique spin he applied. Easily the most difficult crossover move you’ll ever see, it requires the player to throw the ball in front of his body-get the defender to commit to moving to one side-before quickly pulling it back with his opposite hand-and slide into a crossover dribble. (Seriously, it all happens at once.) Of course God has disciples. Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, and Kyrie Irving have all brought their take on the move to the NBA.

Known as Shammgod Wells growing up, once he got to Providence College he had to use his legal name, God Shammgod. (He prefers to be called Shamm.) If you take a look at any draft, for any sport, you’ll inevitably run into the word “upside.” A big man with upside. A passer with upside. It’s repeated ad nauseam, and teams gamble based on the potential of a player. Shamm’s draft “upside” was convoluted in 1997, when the Friars moved on to the NCAA Elite Eight by upsetting the heavily favored Duke Blue Devils.

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