|Rio Grande Valley Vipers|
|League||NBA G League|
|Born||June 12, 1974|
|Listed height||6 ft 10.75 in (2.10 m)|
|Listed weight||265 lb (120 kg)|
|High school||C.E. King (Houston, Texas)|
|NBA draft||1996 / Round: 2 / Pick: 35th overall|
|Selected by the Seattle SuperSonics|
|Position||Power forward / Center|
|1998||Long Island Surf|
|2004–2007||Armani Jeans Milano|
|2008–2009||Spartak Saint Petersburg|
|2015–2018||Rio Grande Valley Vipers (assistant)|
|2018–present||Rio Grande Valley Vipers|
|Career highlights and awards|
Joseph Blair (born June 12, 1974) is an American former professional basketball player, and current head coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA G League. Standing 2.10m (6 ft 10.75 in) tall, and weighing 120 kg (265 pounds), he spent his playing career playing at the positions of power forward and center. He was reputed for his spectacular playing style, most notably while he was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Blair played four seasons of college basketball with 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 he was a member of Arizona's two regular season Pac-10 championships, in 1993 and 1994. He was a starter on the Arizona squad that advanced to the 1994 NCAA Final Four.
As of the 2014–15 season, he held the Arizona program's record for highest career field goal percentage (61.3%), and also ranked eighth on the school's all-time shot blocking records list, with 101 blocks.
Though he was drafted 35th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft, by the Seattle SuperSonics, Blair didn't sign with the team, and his agent engineered his release in 1997. Later in his career, 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.
After being released by Seattle, he moved to Europe, signing in France with Pau-Orthez for the 1997–98 season.
He moved to the Italian LBA league, in which he would spend a good part of his career, with Biella, Scavolini Pesaro, and Armani Jeans Milano, participating in the league's All-Star Game in 2000, 2005, and 2006, and leading the league in rebounds in the 1999–00 season.
He had an interlude with PAOK of the Greek Basket League in the 2000–01 season, which he described as a "bad experience", due to salary arrears. He did not finish that season in Greece, and instead finished it playing with the Harlem Globetrotters again.
He finished his career in the Russian Basketball Super League 1, playing first with Spartak Primorje, with whom he led the league in rebounding, during the 2007–08 season, and then with another Russian team, Spartak Saint Petersburg. The American was at the center of a less than positive incident during a 30 October 2008 Russian Cup game against Lokomotiv Rostov. Allegedly, in order to protect a teammate, Blair punched a Lokomotiv player, which 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).
Blair returned to the Arizona Wildcats college program for the 2013–14 season, serving as an undergraduate assistant coach, and helping the team's big men. For the 2014–15 season, he was moved to the school's graduate manager position, and in these roles he was credited with helping Arizona players like Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley realize their potential. He was not offered a position at the University of Arizona for the 2015–16 season.
After being inspired by the youth camps run by the Harlem Globetrotters, in which he previously participated, Blair founded the Blair Charity Group. Described as, "a local charity group that focuses on Tucson’s youth", the group provides free-of-charge "leadership and social-skill based basketball camps and clinics" around the Tucson area. Though basketball is at the center of the charity, it also aims to provide education and social skills to children. The charity remains fee less, as to not deprive unprivileged children of an opportunity.
Since finishing his playing career in 2009, Blair has lived in Tucson, Arizona, where the University of Arizona is located. He returned to the university to finish his degree, which he obtained in 2014.
- "Men's Basketball- 2014-15 Coaches (Joseph Blair)." Archived 2015-06-10 at the Wayback Machine.Arizona Wildcats. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
- Johnson, K.C. "A real-life globetrotter."Chicago Tribune, 11 October 2007. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
- "2007-2008 Chicago Bulls - the players."NBA. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
- Lawlor, Frank. "Blair: 'I was in the magic circle'."Euroleague, 16 April 2002. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
- "Euroleague 2001-02 awards."EuroLeague. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
- "Euroleague 2002-03 awards."EuroLeague. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
- Johnson, K.C. "Delicate blend of basketball and boxing." Archived 2015-06-10 at the Wayback Machine.Russia Today, 30 October 2008. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
- Martinez, Danny. "Joseph Blair: Always a Successful Season."Arizona Wildcats, 7 February 2014. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
- Rivera, Steve. "Joseph Blair no longer with Arizona basketball program."Fox Sports, Tucson, Arizona, 20 May 2015. Retrieved on 9 June 2015.
- "RGV Vipers Add Blair and Toppert to Coaching Staff". OurSportsCentral.com. October 14, 2015. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
- "UPDATE: RGV Vipers hire former assistant Joseph Blair as new coach". themonitor.com. October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.