Darvin Ham Joins Coaching Staff
Darvin Ham, an 8-year NBA veteran and most recently the head coach of the D-League's New Mexico Thunderbirds, is joining the Lakers as the newest addition to Mike Brown's coaching staff.
"I’m very happy to have Darvin join our coaching staff,” said Brown. “ I’ve known Darvin since his rookie year in Denver and have watched him make the transition from player to coach. He has put in the hard work that is necessary to have success at this level and I look forward to having him on our staff.”
This will be Ham's first job on an NBA bench, though his coaching experience dates back to the 2007-08 D-League season, when he was a not-so-common player/coach of the Thunderbirds. After a brief playing stint with the Austin Toros, Ham returned to New Mexico as an assistant coach for two years before taking over the top seat in July of 2010.
“I'm truly honored and grateful for Mike Brown, Mitch Kupchak and the entire Lakers organization for presenting me with this amazing opportunity,” said Ham. “I look forward to making my contribution in sustaining the championship tradition that the Lakers have established throughout their history in the NBA. I'm very excited about our staff and players, and am ready to get to work to help bring another championship to this prestigious franchise.”
A native of Saginaw, Michigan, Ham starred at Texas Tech University, but went undrafted in 1996. Nonetheless, Ham went on to play 12 years of professional basketball through the 2007-2008 season, including NBA stints with Denver, Indiana, Washington, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Detroit, where he won a 2004 championship ring after the Pistons' 4-1 win over the Lakers. In 417 career games, Ham averaged 2.7 points and 2.3 rebounds, and was a participant in the 1997 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
Mike Brown first got to know Ham during his rookie year in the NBA, as Brown worked in the Nuggets basketball operations department when Ham made the team as an undrafted free agent. Ham actually played for two of Brown's other assistant coaches, John Kuester and Quin Snyder. Kuester was an assistant coach on Larry Brown's title-winning Pistons team, and Snyder was the head coach of the Toros during the 2008 D-League season. Mike Brown's third bench assistant, Chuck Person, played against Ham for three years before his own retirement in 2000.
The first time many learned Ham's name on a national level may have been in the spring of 1996, when Sports Illustrated's cover photo featured Ham showered in glass after a monster dunk destroyed the backboard in a second round victory over North Carolina, alma mater of both Kuester and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak.
Between and after NBA contracts, Ham traveled as far as Puerto Rico, Spain and the Philippines (for a team called "Talk N' Text Phone Pals") to stay on the court.
The son of Wilmer Jones-Ham, the mayor of Saginaw from 2001-05, Ham is father to his own son, Darvin Jr., who's currently a sophomore on Northwood University's basketball team in Midland, Michigan.