Joseph Blair

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For the Melbourne Football Club president, see Joe Blair.
Joseph Blair
Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Position Assistant coach
League NBA Development League
Personal information
Born (1974-06-12) June 12, 1974 (age 42)
Akron, Ohio
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 10.75 in (2.10 m)
Listed weight 265 lb (120 kg)
Career information
High school C.E. King (Houston, Texas)
College Arizona (1992–1996)
NBA draft 1996 / Round: 2 / Pick: 35th overall
Selected by the Seattle SuperSonics
Playing career 1996–2009
Position Power forward / Center
Coaching career 2015–present
Career history
As player:
1996–1997 Pau-Orthez
1997–1998 Harlem Globetrotters
1998 Long Island Surf
1998–1999 Fila Biella
1999–2000 Scavolini Pesaro
2000–2001 PAOK
2001 Harlem Globetrotters
2001–2002 Scavolini Pesaro
2002–2004 Ülkerspor
2004–2007 Armani Jeans Milano
2007–2008 Spartak Primorje
2008–2009 Spartak Saint Petersburg
As coach:
2015–present Rio Grande Valley Vipers (assistant)
Career highlights and awards

Joseph Blair (born June 12, 1974) is an American former professional basketball player currently working as an assistant coach for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League. 2.10m (6 ft 10.75 in) tall and weighing 120 kg (265 pounds), he played as a forward and center. He was reputed for his spectacular playing style, notably as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters.

College career[edit]

Blair played four seasons for the Arizona Wildcats of the Pacific-10 Conference in the NCAA Division I. He averaged 10.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game during his collegiate career and participated in Arizona's two regular season Pac-10 championships in 1993 and 1994. He was a starter on the squad that advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 1994.[1]

As of the 2014-15 season, he holds the program record for career field goal percentage (61;3%), also ranking eighth on the shot blocking records with 101 blocks.[1]

Professional career[edit]

Though he was drafted 35th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft Seattle SuperSonics, he didn't sign for the team and his agent engineered his release in 1997. A preseason game with the Chicago Bulls in 2007 was the closest he came to playing in the NBA, before being waived by the Bulls in October, less than two weeks after being signed.[2]

He then moved to Europe, signing in France with Pau-Orthez for 1997-1998.

After a return to the U.S. to play for the Harlem Globetrotters and the Long Island Surf, the latter of the United States Basketball League, Blair returned to Europe in 1998.

He moved to the Italian Serie A in which he would spend a good part of his career, with Biella, Scavolini Pesaro and Armani Jeans Milano, participating in the league All-Star Game in 2000, 2005 and 2006,[3] and leading the league in rebounds in 1999-00.

He had an interlude with PAOK of the Greek Basket League in 2000-2001, he described it as "bad experience" due to salary arrears, he did not finish the season in Greece, instead playing for the Harlem Globetrotters again.[4]

Whilst playing for Pesaro in the EuroLeague, Europe's premier club competition, he was selected to the 2001-02 All-EuroLeague Second Team.[5]

Blair played for Ülkerspor for two years, in the Turkish Basketball League and the EuroLeague. He was named 2002-03 EuroLeague Regular Season MVP whilst playing for the club.[6]

He finished his career in the Russian Basketball Super League, first for Spartak Primorje with whom he led the league in rebounding during the 2007-2008 season.

With another team, Spartak Saint Petersburg, the American was at the center of an less positive incident during a 30 October 2008 Russian Cup game against Lokomotiv Rostov. Allegedly to protect a teammate, Blair punched a Lokomotiv player, this started a brawl that led to many player ejections, leaving the teams with only 4 players each on the court (they finished with 3 each).[7]

Post-playing career[edit]

Blair returned to the Wildcats program for the 2013-14 season, serving as undergraduate assistant coach, helping the team's big men. For 2014-15 he was moved to graduate manager, in these roles he has been credited as helping Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley realise their potential.[1][8] He was not offered a position at Arizona University for 2015-16.[9]

After being inspired by the youth camps run by the Harlem Globetrotters in which he participated, he founded the Blair Charity Group. Described as "a local charity group that focuses on Tucson’s youth", it declaredly provides free-of-charge "leadership and social-skill based basketball camps and clinics" around the area. Though basketball is at the center of the charity, it also aims to provide education and social skills to children, they remain feeless as to not deprive unprivileged children of an opportunity.[8]

On October 14, 2015, Blair was hired by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers as an assistant coach.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Two of Blair's three children were born in Italy, both with a former Italian girlfriend. After playing in three different cities in the country, he also speaks fluent Italian .[2]

Since finishing his playing career in 2009, Blair has lived in Tucson, Arizona, where the University of Arizona is located.[8] He returned to the university to finish his degree, which he obtained in 2014.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Men's Basketball- 2014-15 Coaches (Joseph Blair)."Arizona Wildcats. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b Johnson, K.C. "A real-life globetrotter."Chicago Tribune, 11 October 2007. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
  3. ^ "2007-2008 Chicago Bulls - the players."NBA. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
  4. ^ Lawlor, Frank. "Blair: 'I was in the magic circle'."Euroleague, 16 April 2002. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
  5. ^ "Euroleague 2001-02 awards."EuroLeague. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Euroleague 2002-03 awards."Euroleague. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
  7. ^ Johnson, K.C. "Delicate blend of basketball and boxing."Russia Today, 30 October 2008. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Martinez, Danny. "Joseph Blair: Always a Successful Season."Arizona Wildcats, 7 february 2014. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
  9. ^ Rivera, Steve. "Joseph Blair no longer with Arizona basketball program."Fox Sports, Tucson, Arizona, 20 May 2015. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
  10. ^ "RGV Vipers Add Blair and Toppert to Coaching Staff". October 14, 2015. Retrieved October 14, 2015. 

External links[edit]