Bleacher Report has released an excellent, brief documentary about God Shammgod’s famous crossover dribble move, itself called the Shammgod. The documentary, done by Jake Fischer, is below and should be watched, starting…now:
The documentary is awesome, in that it captures the move’s history as told by those victimized by it and by the man who perfected it. The move itself is a single-hand crossover designed, as all crossovers are, to move a defender in the direction opposite the one the dribbler intends to move in.
Traditional crossovers are two-handed, back-and-forth affairs. Although there have been many practitioners of this particular art, Tim Hardaway is as identified with the move as anybody is. This is for good reason: he was lethal with it.
If you watch closely, you can see Hardaway going right-left-right in what appears to be hyperspeed. The defender bites on the ball going left, stepping toward it, but by the time he gets there, Hardaway has gone back to the right and slid past the defender’s left hip.
The Shammgod is slightly different, as the ball switches hands only once. It starts with the player introducing the ball pushes out the off-hand, then pulls it back on the dominant hand. If that sounds confusing, the video below better illustrates it:
The documentary in the first link explains that Shammgod’s career was not what it might have been. He came out of college early, foundered in the NBA, and eventually ended up having a long lucrative international career. He now coaches with the Dallas Mavericks. Shammgod’s handle lives on though, both in the grainy video that YouTube is so generously willing to host:
…and in the unfettered and enthusiastic respect Shammgod enjoys from his fellow players, athletes who, it should be noted, have achieved at higher levels than Shammgod ever did.
It speaks volumes to a player’s seemingly otherworldy talent when it is remembered even if the absence of considerable success. This is particularly true in the NBA, where players who do not win championships are often prematurely dismissed from conversations about greatest-evers. Shammgod, in other words, lives on, even as he himself adjusts to coaching.
Speaking of which, Shammgod’s move gave us one of last season’s very best – very best – plays, as Russell Westbrook decided to bust one out for his 22nd assist in a 26pt/22ast/11rbs triple-double.
Is it worth noting precisely how little of a chance Westbrook’s defender had on that play? Stopping Westbrook going downhill is hard enough, but poor Tyler Ulis also had to endure a perfectly executed Shammgod, and as we can all see, that didn’t go well for him. In Ulis’s defense though, Shammgod’s rarely go well for any defender. That is why we know its name.
So long live God Shammgod, and long live his brilliant move.