Our Story

Smart Ballers was founded when coach, entrepreneur, and basketball fanatic Steve Palmer met ex-NBA player Shawn Opunui. Over years of intense mentoring, Shawn revealed to Steve the secret Specialty Basketball™ system he used to dominate the game at just 5'11".

Together, our passion is to give young players a legitimate chance of making it big in this game we love.


Shawn Opunui Highlights

Steve Palmer's Story


Shawn Opunui's Story

Shawn Opunui grew up as a scrappy short kid playing basketball barefoot in Hawaii.

When he was 12 years old, his coach told him, "Shawn, you're always going to be the smallest guy on the court. The only way you'll ever make it in this game is if you're smarter than everyone."

And that's exactly what Shawn did.

He devoted his life to the game of basketball. When other guys were out partying, he was analyzing film with his coach.

His hard work and dedication paid off. At just 5'11", he won a full scholarship to BYU, where he played for a year before transferring to BYU-Hawaii. At BYU-Hawaii he was an All-American and put up these stats:

  • Field Goal Percentage: 61.1
  • Free Throw Percentage: 93.5
  • Three-Point Percentage: 59.1
  • Points Per Game: 21.5
  • Steals Per Game: 2.9

In a game where the average height is 6'7", he was then drafted by the Dallas Mavericks. He played one year with the Mavericks, then saw opportunity overseas. He went on to earn millions playing professional basketball in China, Japan, and Australia.

Shawn earned millions in basketball not because he was bigger, stronger, faster, or better than anyone.

It was because he was SMARTER.

Steve Palmer's Story

I fell in love with this game at a young age and played it through high school. I spent countless hours playing with my brothers on our backyard court. I used to practice shooting until it was too dark to see.

But my hoop dreams were dashed by two problems: first, I only grew to 6’2” and I was not the most athletic. And second, I didn’t have the right training. So I didn’t pursue the game past high school.

But I’ve always been a passionate fan and devoted student of the game. In fact, to this day, in my forties, you’ll still find me in the gym every day shooting threes. And I follow the NBA religiously with my league pass.

I met Shawn while shooting one day. We became friends and he started training me on his genius "Specialty Basketball" system.

In the process, I realized that if I had been coached by Shawn as a young player, my basketball experience would have been completely different. And I knew that every kid with hoop dreams needed to understand Shawn’s genius for the game.

My passion is giving you a better chance than I had to go as far as you can in this game.

For the past two decades I have been a business owner, coach, educator, consultant,  and writer. 

Now, I apply my past experience and Shawn's mentoring to help you maximize your potential on the court.