DALLAS - The "Legacy Shammgod,'' released by Puma on Monday, isn't just a shoe, says its namesake, ball-handling icon and Dallas Mavericks coach God Shammgod.
“Everything on my shoe has significance,” Shammgod tells DallasBasketball.com. “It’s not just a shoe just to have a shoe. It's a shoe about my life. And a history.''
To be more specific ...
“If you look at my shoe, I put the concrete lining on the bottom of the shoe, like the old Jordans had, because I’m from New York City and we call that ‘The Concrete Jungle.’ In my day, that's the sport we played, basketball. That's all. The shoe is red, black and white, which are the same as my colors in high school at La Salle Academy, Second St. on the Lower East Side, and also the (colors of the) 1995 McDonald's All-American Game.''
On the heel of the sneakers is "1997,” which marks the year at Providence during which he played in the the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Tournament and pulled off his trademark dribbling move. And inside the sneakers?
"People have asked me forever, 'How do you do the move?'' Shamm says. "So I put a tutorial inside the shoe, step-by-step.''
Shammgod, 44, is in his fifth season as a player developmental coach for the Mavericks and was a playground legend long before that due to his unique wizardry as a ball-handler. He's flattered, of course, to be involved with Puma at this level; he was first invited to serve as a consultant because Puma noted his connection as a tutor of young basketball players. But the company soon realized after that his devotion to charity in the community and his faith-based foundation.
The shoe is about that, too.
Shammgod wants the attention that will come with having his own sneakers to mean something even more.
Shamm has long donated time, money, meals and shoes to underprivileged children. A present project: He and Puma are donating 1,997 masks ("1997'' is a central number) through the New York City Housing Authority via the "Share For Life Foundation.''
"What Puma is doing with me is authentic, for the right reasons,'' Shammgod says. "We could sell a million shoes but we'd rather change one life. Authentic, and organic. I believe the people who watch me know everything about me is organic.''
Shammgod expresses some concern about what the American community is experiencing right now in regard to everything from the civil-rights movement to COVID-19. He's humbled, he says, by being in an "organic'' position to help people "love harder.''
"God puts you through stuff for reasons, to force you to grow as a person,'' Shammgod says. "And if you follow Him, He'll put you with the right people. Mark Cuban, Rick Carlisle, Jay-Z. I'm just a kid from Harlem, New York, who can get on the phone with people like that and talk about life. .. Ive been blessed. And I just want to give that back.''
And the shoes are a vehicle for that.
"This - giving back - is my purpose,'' Shammgod says. "I’ve got a shoe named after me, I’ve got NBA players doing my move, I've got kids and families who need help. ...
"When I was a little kid, I thought about what I called 'The 3 S's.' When I was little, I wanted to be 'silly.' When I grew up, I wanted to be 'successful.' And now?
"I want to be 'significant.' Everything I do is for that.''