is a former National Basketball Association (NBA) player, an NBA coach, an active participant in the community, and a dynamic speaker.
Selected 6th overall in the first round of the 1975 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, Hollins earned a spot on the 1976 All-Rookie First team and went on to win an NBA Championship as a starter for the Trail Blazers in 1977. A year later, he was an NBA All-Star and named to the NBA’s All-Defensive team two years in a row. After his lengthy playing career, he was inducted into the Halls of Fame of NJCAA, Arizona State University, Nevada High School Basketball, Southern Nevada Sports and the Pac 10. In addition, he had his numbers retired and raised to the rafters by Arizona State, Dixie College, and the Trail Blazers.
With over 30 years of coaching experience, Lionel has coached on all levels (AAU, college, the minor leagues, and the NBA), and has become a well-respected coach and developer of players on and off of the court. He has coached with seven different teams with the majority of his coaching being done with the Memphis Grizzlies, formerly known as the Vancouver Grizzlies. During his stint with the Grizzlies, he became the winningest coach in franchise history with an improved record each season. He led them to three straight playoff appearances, their first playoff win, the franchise’s first playoff series victory, and had the best season with 56 wins that led them to the Western Conference Finals. He also received the honor of being coach of the month four times.
Hollins has also been a prominent part of the Memphis community for 13+ years. He mentored young men at Grizzlies Prep and created Lionel Hollins Charities (LHC) to further his passion of giving back. Through the charity, he raised funds to provide backpacks, supplies, and uniforms to underprivileged students, set up a mentoring program, donated bikes and books to children, and helped start a community garden to promote healthy eating habits. He was also a spokesman for the Healthy Shelby’s 140/90: Living Life Under Pressure campaign. He is an ambassador for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and has raised thousands of dollars for the organization. He also supports several other charities and organizations across the country.
In addition to his community involvement, Lionel is also a compelling speaker. He speaks all over the country talking to audiences about leadership, adversity, and success. He has boosted team morale for corporations like Comcast and Hilton Timeshare and has spoken to the Rotary Club and members at Memphis Streets Ministries. From his commencement speech at Southwest Community College to his talks at various schools, churches, and basketball camps, Hollins motivates and inspires people young and old alike.
Lionel was born in Arkansas City, Kansas and was raised by his grandmother in Las Vegas, Nevada. In his free time, Lionel likes to spend time with his beautiful wife Angela of 34 years, their four adult children and their two grandchildren. He enjoys reading, playing golf, and completing crossword puzzles. He currently resides in Memphis, Tennessee.