James “Sam” Vincent


Served as envoy

  • 2011  –  Jordan

James Samuel Vincent was born May 18, 1963 in Lansing Michigan. Sam attended Lansing’s Eastern High School followed by Michigan State University. At 6’2, Sam played point guard for the MSU Spartans where he averaged 16.8 points per game.

One of Sam’s first big career hallmarks was when he was named the State of Michigan’s very first “Mr. Basketball” in 1981. That honor was soon followed by others as Vincent was named team MVP in 1983 – 1985, and was awarded The Sporting News All-America honors in 1985. His college career rankings are impressive. He ranks sixth in career scoring, third in career steals and ninth in career assists. Following graduation, Vincent was a 1985 first round NBA Draft selection by the Celtics (20th overall). During his pro career he averaged 7.8 points per game and 3.9 assists per game. He played with Boston (1985-87), Seattle (1987-88), Chicago (1987-890 and with Orlando (1989-92).

In his rookie year with the Celtics, Sam helped the team win an NBA championship. Again, during his sophomore year they made yet another NBA Final. Not a bad start to a great pro career. Sought by the Seattle Super Sonics, Sam joined the team for part of the 1987-88 season before being traded to the Chicago Bulls where he averaged 13 points, 8.4 assists and 3.6 rebounds. All this while starting 27 games and helping the Bulls to the NBA playoffs. The following season with the Bulls, Vincent started 56 of the 70 games as the team advanced to the Eastern Conference finals. After the 1989-90 season he was chosen by the Orlando Magic in the expansion draft, where he averaged 11.2 points, 5.6 assists and 3.1 during the teams first year.

After Sam finished his playing career he joined Reggie Williams, vice president at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. As a special advisor his job involved recruiting major sporting events for the Orlando, Florida area. As much as he enjoyed his position in Orlando, it wasn’t where his heart was. Sam Vincent wanted to be on the court where he knew he had much to offer. He made up his mind to follow his dream and get back to the game, this time as a coach.

In 1996 he was hired as head coach of the Cape Town Kings in South Africa. This position encompassed quite a challenge as he was now responsible for overseeing every aspect of the organization. Handling everything from business administration, marketing and communications, even sponsorship sales, Sam Vincent took it all in stride. With three seasons of experience in Cape Town, he was named head coach for both the Men’s and Women’s South African Senior National Teams. Followed in 1999 – 2000 by a position in Larissa, Greece with the Greek A-2 Men’s Basketball League before moving on to the A-1 Dutch League as head coach of the Canoe Jeans in Den Bosch, Netherlands.

Always in search of the next challenge that would help him gain experience and the chance to hone his innate coaching abilities, in 2003 Vincent became head coach of the Nigerian women’s national team. In December his team won its first FIBA Africa Championship, which earned them a berth at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Neither Sam nor his team rested on their collective laurels. In Athens his coaching skills were proven again as the team defeated South Korea 68-64, giving the African women’s basketball team their first taste of Olympic victory and the first-ever Olympic victory by an African women’s basketball team. From there Coach Vincent became head coach of the Nigerian men’s national basketball team. With the same dedication to his players and the game, Coach Vincent developed a team that took a bronze medal in the 2005 FIBA Africa championships. The men followed that up with an impressive 82-75 upset win over the acknowledged powerhouse Serbia and Montenegro in the FIBA World Championships of 2006.

With these impressive victories as proof of his growing coaching skills it wasn’t surprising that he would make the move to his first NBA coaching job in the US. In 2006 he became coach of the Dallas Mavericks for the Toshiba Vegas Summer League going on to serve as an assistant coach during the 2006 -2007 season when the Mavericks won a league best 67 games during their regular season. In 2007, Michael Jordan, his former teammate on the Chicago Bulls and current team president of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats, selected Sam as his head coach for the 2007/2008 NBA season. And although his stint as head coach lasted only one season, Sam was still thankful to Michael Jordan and Bob Johnson for the opportunity. The opportunity brought experience, and even though the team suffered through several player injuries, they managed to put together a 32 win season.

Throughout his basketball career he has taken an interest in community programs. Sam has been actively involved with Basketball without Borders since 1997. This exceptional program provides youth, 16-20 years of age, an opportunity to share living quarters with their teammates and participate in seminars that focus on community outreach efforts for education, grassroots basketball development, product donation, healthy living, HIV/AIDS and drug abuse education and prevention.

Sam Vincent is an outstanding coach. Whether he’s coaching in the States or abroad, in the NBA, the NBDL, or Africa National team makes no difference – they all get the best he has to give: his skill, his enthusiasm and his devotion to a sport he loves.

Asked about his career, Sam responded: “I was fortunate to play for some great coaches and with some legendary players during my NBA career. I am honored to be given the opportunity to coach the sport I love and be a part of the basketball family.”


2009 – Head Coach Jamaican National Team
Won the Caribbean Island Championship
2008 – 2009 Head Coach NBDL Anaheim (CA.) Arsenal
Development of (1) player (James White) led to a mid-season call-up to the Houston Rockets Development of (2) players (Cedric Bozeman and (Kendrick Brown) led to new personal highs in rebounding and scoring
2007 – 2008 Head Coach NBA Charlotte Bobcats
Finished the 2008-09 season with a record of 32-50, close to the 8th seeded playoff spot behind the Atlanta Hawks. Established the Bobcats first five-game win streak
Coached the Bobcats to wins against the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trailblazers, and Seattle Supersonics on a three-game, west coast road trip
2006 – 2007 Assistant Coach NBA Dallas Mavericks
Created an Excel spreadsheet to chart effectiveness of offensive plays based on amount of points scored per play.
2005 – 2006 Head Coach NBDL Fort Worth Flyers
Advanced to the League Championship game after first year as Head coach.
Responsible for team operations and player management
Managed operations budget and travel logistics
2005 – present Head Coach Nigerian Men’s National Basketball Team
Nigerian Men’s National Basketball Team advanced to qualifying round at 2006 World Championships in Japan.
Won the 2005 African Championship bronze metal.
2003 – 2005 Head Coach Nigerian Women’s National Basketball Team
Women’s team won the first Olympic basketball game in history for Nigeria at the 2004 Summer Games in Greece.
Responsible for implementation of National team program for men and women, including grass root youth development programs
Responsible for group management of the Nigerian government delegation attending the 2004 Olympic Games
2003 – 2005 Camp Director Basketball Without Borders-Africa
Created Africa 100 concept which turned into NBA’s Basketball Without Borders. Responsible for all ground logistics, communications, and public relations in connection with South African government at South African camp
2001 – 2003 Head Coach NBDL Mobile Revelers
Won the League Championship in 2nd year as Head coach.
Responsible for team operations and player management
Managed operations budget and travel logistics
2000 – 2001 Head Coach Canoe Jeans, Netherlands
Responsible for team operations and player management
Managed operations budget and travel logistics
Designed and developed youth development programs
1999 – 2000 Head Coach Larissa, Greece
Responsible for team operations and player management
Managed operations budget and travel logistics
1997 – 1999 Head Coach Cape Town Kings, South African Premier Basketball League (PBL) Responsible for team operations and player management
Managed operations budget and travel logistics
1996 – 1997 Managing Director, Cape Town Kings, South African Premier Basketball League (PBL)
Responsible for strategy, marketing, advertising, public relations, player contract negotiations, and player personnel