By Roni Toldanes
America loves funny guys. Sinbad is living proof.
Born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Sinbad grew up telling jokes to his three brothers and two sisters. His first love, however, was basketball, and becoming a Harlem Globetrotter was a childhood dream. He earned a basketball scholarship to the University of Denver and was convinced that college basketball was his ticket to the NBA. “I had flaming red hair and they called me Red Chamberlain.”
But the satisfaction from being able to make people laugh was irresistible. In 1983 he embarked on his “Poverty Tour,” going from city to city on a Greyhound bus, from comedy club to comedy club, working for meals and changing out of hotel restrooms.
He got his big break when he became a finalist in the top-rated TV show Star Search. This led to a TV movie and a role as Redd Foxx’s son on The New Redd Foxx Show. Then Bill Cosby invited him to join A Different World. And the rest, as the worn-out cliché goes, is history.
Today, Sinbad is one of the hottest comedians in Hollywood. He starred in the movie First Kid as Sam Simms, a fun-loving Secret Service agent assigned to protect the son of the U.S. President. He has appeared on a western action movie for HBO, Cherokee Kid. He also starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in Jingle All the Way.
While filming Cherokee Kid Sinbad received his first formal firearms instruction. Hollywood gun guru Thell Reed and mounted cowboy shooting champion Billy Lang were commissioned by HBO to be his gun coaches. Reed and Lang taught Sinbad the mechanics of shooting fast and accurate. They also trained him on the basics of correct and safe gun handling. Sinbad came out of Cherokee Kid with a deep respect for firearms and great fascination for the many fun activities one can have with guns.
“Until I met Thell and Billy, I never even knew there were places where you can go out and have fun with guns,” he said. “I want to try them all, Cowboy Action, Mounted Cowboy Shooting, Fast Draw — all of them!”
When we met him for our photo shoot, Sinbad showed off his gun-twirling skills and his sub-one second thumbing draws. He says he can even spin-cock a Winchester lever-action rifle, in true John Wayne fashion, and hit a playing card 100 yards away on demand!
Like all responsible parents with guns, Sinbad has passed the legacy of safe gunhandling on to his two young children. He purchased a .22-caliber Colt single action for his son, who is now proficient in safe gunhandling.
Sinbad reloads his own ammo and says he plans to join the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS). His participation in the shooting sports will give recreational shooting a tremendous boost.
“He is just the right man to promote sports shooting,” says gun instructor Billy Lang. “Sinbad makes people feel good. He’s always smiling and he’s always making everybody happy. That’s why America loves him.”