Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Purvis Short

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2008  –  Saudi Arabia

A native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Purvis Short attended Jackson State University and was the 5th overall selection of the Golden State Warriors in the 1978 NBA Draft.

Over his twelve-year NBA Career, he played for the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and New Jersey Nets. Short averaged 17.3 points per game. He is currently the Warriors seventh all-time leading scorer. In the 1980-81 season, Short had a career high of 249 assists and a 16.1 per game average. In 1984, Short scored a career high of 59 points during a 131-114 loss — it was the most points scored in the NBA since David Thompson and George Gervin.

Upon retirement from the game, he joined the front office of the National Basketball Association and currently serves as Chief of Player Programs.

Neal Meyer

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2017  –  Jordan

Neal Meyer is a former NBA Assistant Coach with the Clippers and Trailblazer, as well as working a video coordinator and camp director for the Denver Nuggets’ offseason youth camps. He got his NBA start when he held the position of assistant video coordinator and camp director for the San Antonio Spurs in 1994. Meyer served as Head Coach for the Clippers entry in the 2006 Las Vegas Summer League and enjoys coaching and teaching internationally during his offseasons. He joined the NBA to oversee part of their Europe and Middle Eastern operations in 2010 before becoming Associate Vice President of Basketball Operations in EMEA in 2017.

Marty Conlon

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2011  –  Uzbekistan
  • 2011  –  Jordan
  • 2012  –  Burma
  • 2014  –  South Korea

As a manager of International Basketball Operations at the National Basketball Association (NBA), Martin Conlon conducts basketball grassroots events all over the world, organizing, coaching in, recruiting for, and creating curriculum for camps, clinics, or coaching seminars. He also maintains relationships with international basketball federations, clubs, and organizations.

Conlon has led the NBA Haier Academy camps in mainland China for the last three years, working in nine different cities and acting as the lead scout and championship coach of the reality TV show NBA Mengniu Basketball Disciple. In 2008, Conlon also led the first-ever “NBA Hoop School” program in India, working with local coaches in Bangalore, Mumbai, and New Delhi.

Prior to joining the NBA front office, Conlon enjoyed an extensive professional basketball career, most recently as the captain and player/coach of the Irish National Team. He played one season in Spain, another in Greece, and three in Italy. Conlon played in the NBA from 1991 to 1999, spending time on the rosters of Seattle, Charlotte, Milwaukee and Miami.

A member of the Westchester County Hall of Fame, Conlon is also a junior council member of New York’s Museum of Natural History, a junior board member of SEEDS (Sports for Education and Economic Development in Senegal) and a member of the Hawk Mountain conservancy.

As a player at Providence College – from which he holds a bachelor’s degree – Conlon played on the 1987 NCAA Final Four team. He returned to the tournament with Providence in 1989 and 1990.

Kermit Washington

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2008  –  Saudi Arabia

Kermit Washington is a former American NBA player. During his time at university, he became one of seven players in NCAA history to average 20 points and 20 rebounds throughout the course of their career. He is known for his ability to gather rebounds and was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers as the fifth overall pick in 1973.

Since retiring, Washington is a founder and operator of a number of charitable organizations. In 1994, Washington accompanied a team of doctors and nurses on a humanitarian mission to Goma, Zaire; to work in a refugee camp for those fleeing the Rwandan Civil War. Later in 1995, he founded the 6th Man Foundation.

Jerome Williams

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2009  –  Bahrain

Jerome Williams was a star Magruder High School basketball team who was recruited by Georgetown before being drafted out of by the Detroit Pistons with the 26th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft (the pick originally belonged to the San Antonio Spurs and went to the Pistons in the Dennis Rodman trade), he played four-plus years with the Pistons, becoming one of their key reserves.

In 2001, he was traded to the Toronto Raptors and was so excited about joining his new teammates that he drove from Detroit to Toronto that same day. In 2002-03 with the Raptors, Williams averaged 9.7 points per game, primarily as a starter, his career-best scoring average. Williams also made a cameo appearance in the Disney Channel movie Full-Court Miracle. Following his time with the Raptors, he played for the Chicago Bulls for one year as well as the New York Knicks before retiring from his NBA career in 2005.

Williams joined the NBA’s “Basketball Without Borders” program, an effort to teach the game and bring resources to underdeveloped nations in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. Williams continues to be a part of youth development through basketball as he was appointed the President of The Young3 which holds 3-on-3 tournaments for young people ages 9–14. Alongside other basketball legends and himself, they have implemented a digital educational program throughout North America and coupled that with talks. The name of the program is called Shooting For Peace.

James “Sam” Vincent

Basketball

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.”

Experience

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

Greg Meyer

Running

Served as envoy

  • 2018  –  Egypt

Greg Meyer was the last American man to win the Boston Marathon (in 2:09.00 in 1983). He set American road racing records at 8k, 10k, 15k, 25k, and ten miles, and established world bests in the 15K (at Gasparilla in Tampa, FL) and ten miles (the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile in Washington, DC). He was also a sub-4:00 miler. Meyer was nominated for the Sullivan Award as America’s top amateur athlete in 1983. He has been inducted into the ESPN Road Racing, Road Runners Club of America, and Grand Rapids Sports Halls of Fame. Besides Boston, Meyer won the 1980 Detroit and 1982 Chicago Marathons and was the River Bank Run 25K champ seven times. Meyer is the University of Michigan’s Regional Director for Planned Giving.

Lisa Rainsberger

Running

Served as envoy

  • 2018  –  Egypt

Lisa Larsen Rainsberger, previously known as Lisa Larsen Weidenbach, (born May 7, 1961) is a distance runner. She is a member of the University of Michigan Track and Field and Road Runners of America Halls of Fame. Her marathon times were among the top ten in the US in 1984 and 1987–1994. As of 2008, she was listed four times in the top 100 all-time US women’s marathon performances, with a best time of 2:28:15.

In 1984, she ran the inaugural women’s Olympic marathon trials where she finished fourth, missing a spot in the Olympic games. In 1985, she won the Boston Marathon in a time of 2:34:06. An American did not win the Boston Marathon again until 2018, 33 years later, when Desiree Linden ran to victory. Rainsberger finished first back-to-back in the Chicago Marathon in 1988 (2:29:17) and 1989 (2:28:15), something no American woman has repeated since. She had run in numerous other distance races on the track and road, in the United States and abroad (notably Japan’s Hokkaido Marathon).

Rainsberger ended her 12-year career of professional competition after a final attempt to become a professional triathlete and training for the Olympics. She now focuses on her family and coaching. She coaches members of the Army’s world class athlete program, and her daughter, Katie Rainsberger, who is a champion in her own right.

Thomas Grilk

Running

Served as envoy

  • 2018  –  Egypt

Thomas S. Grilk, Chief Executive Officer | Boston Athletic Association | Boston Marathon

Tom Grilk is the Chief Executive Officer of the Boston Athletic Association | Boston Marathon, taking on that role in January of 2011. He served as President of the B.A.A. Board of Governors from 2003 until 2011.

In addition to his duties as Chief Executive Officer, he served as the marathon’s finish line announcer from 1979 through 2013, and he is a former marathon competitor, with a personal best of 2:49 and a personal best at Boston of 2:54.

He was for many years a corporate and business lawyer, both with the Boston law firm Hale and Dorr and serving as counsel and general counsel to Boston area technology companies. He is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Michigan Law School.

Lillian Narvaez

Special Olympics

Served as envoy

  • 2020  –  United Arab Emirates

Lillian Narvaez is a coach for the Special Olympics. In 1987, she was chosen to coach the women’s basketball team that went to the World Summer Games in Indiana and after joined the Special Olympics New Jersey staff as a Program Representative. In 1989, she became the training director and the 1995 became VP of Sports.