Saturday, October 25, 2008


What a country! Here in America, you can name your kid anything you want. You can't do that in Europe. The athlete with the all time greatest name in sports is the young man with the presumptious name God Shammgod. Actually, he is God Shammgod Jr.--his father somehow managed to navigate through life with the same name. This young man, teased about his name, usually silenced his critics on the basketball court. Mr. Shammgod's mother, observing that he was mercilessly teased about his name as a child, enrolled him in kindergarten with her surname, and he was called Shammgod Wells through high school.

When he arrived in college, he was told he had to use his real name or legally change it, which would cost $600.00. He didn't have the $600.00, so Shammgod Wells became God Shammgod again. I'm sure baseballer Jesus Alou would understand.

An extremely quick point guard, Mr. Shammgod starred in high school basketball at LaSalle Academy in New York City where his teammate was future NBA star Ron Artest. In the NBA, Artest was called the Chairman because he was suspended for throwing a chair at a fan, but that's a subject for another day. In his senior year, Shammgod was selected to the 1995 McDonald's All-American Team where he played for the East team in the annual all-star game and scored 9 points.

With a name like God, the logical college to attend was Providence College in Rhode Island. It was a school God would go to if He could afford it. Well, in this case he got a scholarship, and he starred there on the basketball court for 2 seasons. In his first season, he set the Big East Conference freshman assist record. In his Sophomore season, he teamed up with current NBA player Austin Croshere, leading the Friars to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championship Tournament where they lost to eventual champion Arizona in overtime. In that game Shammgod, matched up against current NBA player Mike Bibby, scored 23 points. In one memorable moment, Shammgod faked Bibby out of his shorts on a crossover dribble and drove to the basket (where he missed the layup).

And that was the knock against Shammgod--he was a great ball handler, but even Divine Providence couldn't improve his shooting ability. He left school early to chase the big bucks in the NBA, but he was chosen in the draft by the Washington Wizards as the 17th player in the second round. He played for the minimum NBA salary (how can anyone live on only $250,000 per year?), and played in only 20 games, averaging 3.1 points per game. The Wizards couldn't win with God or without him.

He was waived by the Wizards and began an international odyssey playing professionally in Poland, Saudi Arabia and several teams in the Chinese Basketball Association including Zhejian Cyclones and Shanxi Yujun. See if your Mapquest can locate those places. Of course, in those countries, they don't speak English, so they assume his name is a normal American name. Currently, he plays for the Portland Chinooks of the International Basketball League, and at age 32, his hopes of returning to the NBA are not good.

But at least, if he doesn't like his name, he can now afford to change it.




Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home