- Fred Vinson
Journeyman shooter Vinson grafted his way through a 13 year minor league career that took him to places such as Poland, China, Dominican Republic, France, Italy, and Paul Shirley's book. Some of his career was spent in the voguish American minor leagues of the day - the CBA and the ABA - as Fred worked to get the occasional NBA gig. In fact, he cracked the big league twice in that time, playing 27 minutes for Atlanta in November 1994, and a further 40 minutes for Seattle in the 1999/2000 season. Vinson last made the NBA in 2005, when, aged, 34 and with only an hour of NBA experience under his belt, the Clippers signed him for training camp. With hindsight, we can see an ulterior motive here; when Vinson finally gave up his playing career two years later, the Clippers hired him as a shooting coach.
Despite retiring from regular playing in 2007, Vinson still dusts off the cobwebs every summer to play in the IBL. The IBL is a very minor league with no coverage here, other than the exploits of one team; the Los Angeles Lightning. Last summer [the IBL plays in the summer], the Lightning churned out a veritably stacked roster of people you've heard of; Lamond Murray Jamal Sampson, Bryon Russell, Toby Bailey, Juaquin Hawkins, Adam Parada, California State senator Tony Strickland, and Darrick Martin. Some of those, such as Vinson, were retired players (or politicians) just looking to scratch their playing itch; some (Parada, Sampson, Murray) were still playing professional careers and just wanted a little summer gig. Either way, the team was stacked, and the Lightning breezed to the IBL title.
This year's Lightning aren't quite as stacked, but some of those names remain. Russell, Vinson, Hawkins and Strickland are still there, and the 6-0 Lightning are still winning. In their last game, Vinson totalled 33 points and 8 assists; Russell had 23 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists; Hawkins had 10 points and 8 rebounds; Strickland had a three trillion. The Lightning won by 15.