Sports Envoy
Sports Envoy Program

Shameka Christon

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2005  –  Algeria

Born in Illinois, Shameka Christon began her basketball career at Hot Springs High School, guiding the team to back-to-back state championships while earning state championship MVP honors twice. She was also named Gatorade Player of the Year and earned Arkansas Player of the Year honors.

At the University of Arkansas, Christon was named SEC Player of the Year as a senior in 2004 after averaging career-highs of 21.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. She finished her collegial career ranked second on Arkansas’ all-time scoring list (1,951 points).

Post-graduation, Christon was selected by New York in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2004 WNBA Draft. Her 2009 season saw her named to the WNBA All-Star team with a career high average of 16.1 points and 4.9 rebounds. In 2010, she was then traded to Chicago. In 2012, Christon signed with San Antonio as a free agent. Across her 11 WNBA seasons, Christon averaged 9.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

Internationally, Christon won a Gold Medal with Team USA at the 2002 FIBA World Championships for Women in China. She additionally spent the WBNA off-seasons playing for teams in countries such as Russia, Poland, Spain, and Israel.

Outside of basketball, Christon owns her own company, Shameka Christon Enterprises, an organization which encompasses profit and non-profit ventures, including a daycare, mentoring program, and personal basketball and fitness training academy.

Cynthia Cooper-Dyke

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2005  –  Senegal
  • 2006  –  Senegal
  • 2019  –  Italy

One of the most decorated players in the history of women’s basketball, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke returns to lead the Texas Southern women’s basketball program as its head coach.

Cooper-Dyke served as TSU’s head coach during the 2012-13 season before taking the reins at her alma mater, Southern California. She led the Lady Tigers to a 20-12 record and a trip to the postseason Women’s NIT in her only season at TSU. She had a 70-57 record in four seasons at USC before stepping down in 2017. Cooper-Dyke provided color commentary for Texas Southern basketball home broadcasts on AT&T Sports Net Houston during the 2017-18 season.

Cooper-Dyke arrived at TSU in 2012 after spending the past two seasons at UNC-Wilmington where she led the Seahawks to two of their most successful campaigns in 2010-11 and 2011-12, guiding the squad to a school-record 24 victories (2010) and its second consecutive postseason appearance with an at-large berth in the 2012 Postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament. During the 2010-11 season UNCW was victorious in its first postseason contest, recording a 63-54 victory over Richmond before falling to Eastern Michigan in the second round.

That same year Cooper-Dyke was named CAA Coach-of-the-Year, marking the third time in her six-year collegiate coaching career that she has earned Coach-of-the-Year accolades. Freshman point guard Alisha Andrews garnered CAA Rookie-of-the-Year honors, while seniors Brittany Blackwell and Martha White were First and Second-Team All-Conference selections, respectively. All three players were named to the league’s All-Defensive Team.

Cooper-Dyke also achieved a personal milestone during the 2010-11 season, recording her 100th collegiate coaching victory with an 85-68 triumph at Northeastern on Jan. 23, 2011.

Cooper-Dyke was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on August, 13, 2010. Part of the largest induction class in the Hall of Fame’s history, Cooper-Dyke was enshrined along with Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen, longtime LA Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, St. Anthony’s (N.J.) high-school coach Bob Hurley, Sr., as well as former players Dennis Johnson, Gus Johnson and international star Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira, all of whom will be honored posthumously. Also included in the enshrinement ceremony were the 1960 and 1992 US Men’s Olympic teams.

The former college great, Olympic gold medalist and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Most Valuable Player was named the ninth head coach in UNCW’s history on May 10, 2010 following a successful five-year stint at Prairie View A&M in central Texas.

Cooper-Dyke joined the Prairie View program in May of 2005 and guided the Lady Panthers to their first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) regular season title, SWAC Tournament crown and NCAA Tournament berth in 2006-07, collecting conference Coach-of-the-Year honors.

PVAMU repeated as SWAC regular season champions in 2008 and 2009 under Cooper-Dyke. The 2008 club made its first appearance in the WNIT and Cooper-Dyke was voted SWAC Coach-of-the-Year for the second time in 2009 after leading the Panthers to their second NCAA Tournament appearance.

Born in Chicago but raised in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, Cooper-Dyke was a four-year standout at Southern California, where she sparked the Women of Troy to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1983 and 1984. She later completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Prairie View A&M.

Cooper-Dyke collected five medals while representing the United States. She won a gold medal at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis, captured gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, claimed gold at the 1986 and 1990 FIBA World Championships and won bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

Cooper-Dyke began her professional career overseas and played 10 seasons in Spain and Italy. She returned to the United States in 1997 to play with the Houston Comets of the newly-formed WNBA.

She subsequently led the Comets to four consecutive WNBA championships and was named WNBA Finals MVP four times. Cooper-Dyke was voted the league’s MVP in 1997 and 1998 and was a four-time WNBA All-Star before retiring in 2000.

Cooper-Dyke moved into the coaching ranks in 2001 as the head coach of the Phoenix Mercury and spent two seasons on the sidelines before returning to the Comets’ playing roster briefly until an injury curtailed her season in 2003. She announced her final retirement prior to the start of the 2004 campaign and finished as Houston’s all-time leader in scoring (2,601 points), free throw percentage (.871) and assists (602).

Cooper-Dyke, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, has also been active beyond the basketball court. In 2000, she published her autobiography, “She Got Game: My Personal Odyssey,” chronicling her childhood, basketball career and her mother’s battle with breast cancer.

Andrea Stinson

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2005  –  Algeria
  • 2009  –  Bahrain
  • 2011  –  Jordan

Andrea is considered by many to be the best female player ever from North Carolina. At North Mecklenburg High School, she led her team to two State Championships, and was named player of the year by the High School Association, and Miss Basketball by The Charlotte Observer. She was named the USA Today National Player of the year.

Andrea won AAU National Championships as a ninth grader, and again her junior year when she was MVP (Charlotte Monarchs, now Royals). At NC State she scored 2136 points and was All-Conference and All American.

As a professional she played for the WNBA Charlotte Sting and the Detroit Shock, as well teams in Italy, Turkey, and France. She was a Four Time Italian League All-Star.

Andrea also played on USA Basketball National Teams, participating in the Pan American games, and winning a gold medal in the Jones Cups.

Andrea has been an active participant in The Sports United Envoy Program, traveling to Africa and the Middle East to conduct clinics and events for youth.

After retiring as a player Andrea became a high school coach in NC, and now is the coach at Newton-Conover High School.

Sam Perkins

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2005  –  Algeria
  • 2008  –  Kyrgyzstan
  • 2008  –  Kazakhstan
  • 2009  –  Qatar
  • 2010  –  Indonesia
  • 2011  –  South Sudan
  • 2012  –  United Kingdom

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Perkins attended Samuel J. Tilden High School. He later attended and graduated from Shaker High School in Latham, New York. He was named large-school player of the year (high school) by the New York State Sportswriters Association in 1980 and was also named to the 35 Greatest Boys McDonald’s All Americans team.

Perkins attended college at the University of North Carolina and played basketball for the North Carolina Tar Heels from 1980 to 1984. He was named ACC Rookie of the Year in 1981 and starred alongside future NBA Hall of Famers James Worthy and Michael Jordan on the Tar Heels’ 1982 NCAA championship team. A three-time All-American, Perkins was the 1984 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year. Perkins finished his collegiate basketball career as the Tar Heels’ all-time leader in rebounds and blocked shots and as the second-highest scorer in team history. He graduated from UNC in 1984.

Perkins was a co-captain of the gold-medal-winning 1984 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team.

Chosen by the Dallas Mavericks as the fourth overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft, Perkins went on to play as a power forward and center in the NBA from 1984 to 2001. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1985. Perkins played for the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Seattle SuperSonics, and the Indiana Pacers, respectively. He scored a career-high 45 points on April 12, 1990. Perkins tied an NBA record on January 15, 1997 by making eight three-pointers without a miss. He appeared in three NBA Finals: The 1991 NBA Finals (with the Lakers), the 1996 NBA Finals (with the SuperSonics), and the 2000 NBA Finals (with the Pacers). In Game One of the 1991 NBA Finals, Perkins made a game-winning three-point shot to defeat the Chicago Bulls. He was known by the nicknames “Sleepy Sam”, “Big Smooth”, and “The Big Easy”.

Since his retirement in 2001, Perkins has been actively involved in a variety of charitable endeavors, including Special Olympics, Nothing But Nets in conjunction with the United Nations, Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers, Carolina for Kibera, NBA Cares, Basketball Without Borders and Habitat for Humanity.

In 2002, Perkins was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary men’s basketball team as one of the fifty greatest players in Atlantic Coast Conference history.

In 2008, Perkins was named vice president of player relations for the Indiana Pacers. That September, he was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.

In October 2011, Perkins traveled to South Sudan as a SportsUnited Sports Envoy for the U.S. Department of State, where he worked with Hall of Fame NBA center Dikembe Mutombo to lead a series of basketball clinics and team building exercises with youths, the South Sudanese Wheelchair Basketball Team, and 36 coaches.

Perkins was named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.

Obinna Ekezie

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2005  –  Nigeria

Though he was heavily pursued by several colleges after finishing high school, Obinna signed on to attend and play basketball for the University of Maryland at College Park in 1995. In considering his educational future, he was drawn to the school by its engineering and IBM Total Quality Management programs. The same university was also part of the college basketball conference that Obinna considered to be the best at the time, the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Obinna played on their basketball team, the Terrapins, throughout his college career. In the 1999 NBA draft, he was picked in the second round and joined the Vancouver Grizzlies. Throughout the six years that followed, Obinna played for five different NBA teams and was also a member of three different international teams. When he sustained an injury in 2005, Obinna took his recovery time to seriously consider what he would do professionally at the close of his basketball career. Although this was an issue he had forethought many times, he knew the next chapter of his life was right around the corner.

Obinna retired from professional basketball in 2007 and moved home to Nigeria to pursue his new dream. He co-founded a travel website in 2008, Zeeptravel.com, while continuing to build an even bigger website at the same time. Two years later, during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Obinna and his business partner launched Wakanow. Through a series of aggressive business strategies and a strong concentration on customer service, it has become one of the fastest growing and largest Internet travel sites in Africa.

Jim Jackson

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2005  –  Senegal

James Jackson is an American retired professional basketball player. Over his 14 National Basketball Association (NBA) seasons, Jackson was on the active roster of 12 different teams. Jackson was a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes. He started as a freshman for the 1989–90 season, Jackson averaged 16.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting 49.9% from the field. He played two more seasons through 1991–92 season, earning consensus First Team All American honors in 1991 and 1992 UPI college basketball, and the UPI player of the year in 1992. OSU even decided to retire his number (22) in honor of the star player.

Jackson was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the fourth overall pick of the 1992 NBA draft after his junior season at OSU. During his first season, he only played in 28 games but the following season started in all 82 games.