Growing up as one of six kids, Sinbad's childhood dream was a career in basketball; his ultimate goal was to play for the Globetrotters. His road to professional ball began when he received a basketball scholarship to the University of Denver, but Sinbad never gained his stardom in basketball. His true talent was making people laugh. In 1983, he embarked on his self-sponsored "Poverty Tour" traveling by Greyhound to comedy clubs across the United States, delivering stand up comedy, working for meals, and changing out of hotel restrooms. He got his first big break on the hit TV show, Star Search. His success on Star Search led to a co-starring role on The New Redd Foxx Show in 1986. He eventually caught the eye of Bill Cosby, who cast him in the very successful sitcom, A Different World.