Glycoside hydrolases and phosphorylases are two major classes of enzymes responsible for the cleavage of glycosidic bonds. Here we show that two GH84 O-GlcNAcase enzymes can be converted to efficient phosphorylases by a single point mutation. Noteworthy, the mutated enzymes are over 10-fold more active than naturally occurring glucosaminide phosphorylases. We rationalize this novel transformation using molecular dynamics and QM/MM metadynamics methods, showing that the mutation changes the electrostatic potential at the active site and reduces the energy barrier for phosphorolysis by 10 kcal·mol-1. In addition, the simulations unambiguously reveal the nature of the intermediate as a glucose oxazolinium ion, clarifying the debate on the nature of such a reaction intermediate in glycoside hydrolases operating via substrate-assisted catalysis.