Joseph Blair is now a 76er … well, a 76ers assistant coach.
Blair, a former UA player in the mid-1990s, Tucson-based philanthropist and coach, was named an assistant with Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon.
Blair joins former UA standout guard T.J. McConnell, who has been with the 76ers for the past four years. Blair was an assistant with Arizona when McConnell played.
Blair is coming off a great season as coach with the Rio Grande Vipers, the G League affiliate of the Houston Rockets. In his first head coaching job, Blair led the team to the 2019 G League title over the Long Island Nets. He originally joined the Rockets organization as an assistant with Rio Grande Valley in 2015, after spending two seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, Arizona.
“I’m honored and excited to work alongside (head coach) Brett (Brown) this staff, and team, as well as being a part of such a historic, respected, and energetic organization,” Blair said. “I look forward to learning, growing, and adding value, all while producing positive results for the city and the organization.”
Blair’s professional career spanned from 1996-2009 and included stops in France, the USBL, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Russia. He also performed with the Harlem Globetrotters. Blair spent four years at Arizona, where he averaged 14.7 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game for the Wildcats as a senior. He was a second-round pick of Seattle in 1996.
More than 15 years ago, Blair founded the Blair Charity Group, which seeks to change the lives of the country’s most vulnerable youth. The group and its partners, through the Arizona Basketball Academy, provide access to world-class basketball camps and clinics for thousands of underserved youth in southern Arizona.
“I am excited and proud to welcome Ime and Joseph to our program,” said Brown in a news release. “The depth of basketball knowledge and experience that each brings to our bench will be integral in furthering the success we have enjoyed over the last two seasons.
“Our players will continue to develop and improve under their direction and they will help me strive to guide our team toward our ultimate goal of winning a championship.”