Darvin Ham has certainly paid his dues in professional basketball. It's paid off, too, as he was named an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday afternoon.
Ham first burst onto the scene by breaking backboards at Texas Tech, went undrafted in the 1996 NBA Draft and eventually ended up playing eight years in the Association before ending his career in various stages of coaching in the NBA Development League.
Ham was a de facto player-assistant coach under John Coffino with the Albuquerque Thunderbirds during the 2007-08 basketball. Ham moved to the bench full-time during the 2008-09 season and stayed there through the following season before being named as head coach prior to last season. In honor of his first head coaching gig, the Thunderbirds made the greatest t-shirts ever (thanks to the always excellent James Herbert for the reminder).
Prior to making the move to the Lakers, I talked to Coach Ham this summer about possibilities while he was helping the Denver Nuggets during their pre-draft workouts this summer.
"I would love to coach in the D-league one more year ... God knows that league has been GREAT for me and my development as a coach. Chris Alpert and Dan Reed have done an excellent job," Ham said.
His ultimate goal was the NBA, though.
"The lockout has everything on hold so as of right now I'm working as the Director of Basketball Development for the YMCA-Central New Mexico, helping them re-build their program for the youth and working my own non-profit (Urban Youth Development, Inc.)."
Ham is the fourth D-League head coach hired by the Lakers this offseason, joining fellow assistant Quin Snyder with the Los Angeles NBA team. The Lakers also brought back their D-League franchise, electing to employ Eric Musselman as the team's head coach and Clay Moser as his assistant on their minor league staff.