Sammy's role in Harlem is similar to Shorty's in Boston. He is largely responsible for Malcolm's success as a hustler, and he and Shorty combine forces to rescue their friend when his life is in danger. Sammy is a pimp and a professional criminal, yet he is depicted as an honorable man and a trusted friend. More than once, Sammy helps Malcolm, yet he turns on Malcolm when he violates the hustler's code of ethics by assaulting one of Sammy's women.
When Malcolm returns to Harlem as a Black Muslim minister, he finds that Sammy is dead. He had been successful as a hustler and rose to the top in the numbers racket. At the time of his death, he had twenty-five thousand dollars on him. Yet by Malcolm's standards, he was a failure.