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Sinbad: The Story Behind the Name

Sinbad is known for being a lot of things — a comedian, an actor, even a former basketball player. But not many people actually know where he got his one-of-a-kind name. Eclectic parents? A childhood nickname? A stage name? And most importantly, what the heck does it mean? Before we reveal the story behind this funnyman’s unusual moniker, take a look at what people on the streets of New York City really think Sinbad means:

I think it might be derived from “Zindabad” which is a Hindi term for “Long Live,” often chanted “Long Live India.” Not sure what the actor Sinbad’s connection is to the Hindi language, but this makes the most sense to me.Jay (Thanks for the thoughtful response, but no…) 

Isn’t there a pirate, that’s called Sinbad the Pirate? From the 1950s? Justin (Ahoy mate! Sorry, still not it!) 

It’s a nickname because he got kicked out of the Army for not following the rules! Samantha (He actually was in the military, but this isn’t the answer.) 

I think Sinbad means someone that has a rotten heart. Rebecca (Yikes, we hope not!)

Hmmm, maybe he has a very checkered past. He sinned. That’s bad? Jessica (Too obvious)

I think he’s named after a fictional folk hero.  That, or it’s some sort of religious thing like, “You sin, you bad!” Loren (Getting warmer!)

While these answers are certainly creative, they’re not very factual. Here’s the scoop behind Sinbad’s name.

Sinbad’s real name is actually David Adkins. He was born in Benton Harbor Michigan, to parents Martha and the Rev. Dr. Donald Adkins. Following high school, he went to college at the University of Denver, where he played basketball. Then he served in the US Air Force as a boom operator. When he was based in Wichita, Kansas, he would often go downtown to do stand-up comedy. He also competed in an Air Force Talent Show. He soon discovered he was a natural at making people laugh, and decided to pursue a career in comedy.

To stand out as a stand-up comedian, Adkins chose the stage name, Sinbad, after the mythological navigator of the sea. Sinbad felt that having a single name would not only bring him attention, but make him feel empowered after struggling to prove himself in the industry. In an article from Ebony, he explained, “Sinbad was a leader. When monsters would show up, the men would scream out Sinbad’s name. He wasn’t the biggest guy, but he was clever and resourceful. He was a loner and lived life as a journey.”

Under the professional name of Sinbad, he appeared on Star Search, even winning his round against fellow comedian Dennis Miller. He rose to funnyman fame, starring in HBO specials, TV series, and blockbuster movies including, Jingle All the Way, Houseguest, First Kid, Necessary Roughness, and more. But life for Sinbad hasn’t always been a laughing matter. He had a “hoax death” on Wikipedia, lost his house to the IRS and got divorced. But he’s bounced back thanks to his trademark humor. Now, reunited with his wife Meredith, Sinbad is opening up his home to his fans on WE tv’s new reality show, Sinbad It’s Just Family. Don’t miss the ups, downs and of course the laughs with the whole Adkins clan.

Click here for more details on the show!

Jessica Solloway is a Washington, DC based writer and producer. From wedding planning to work, dating to dieting (and everything in between), she enjoys writing about lifestyle topics women want to know about. Jessica received her degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Check out her blog, The Savvy Mrs.