Hinkie’s parents knew their son was headed for big things.
“I knew whatever he did, he would be in charge of it,” said Ron Hinkie, Sam’s father and a long-time employee at Halliburton in Duncan. “Just from his actions and the way he went about things. More than anything, how he handled his time. He allocated a certain amount of time for whatever the task was. Did the background work.”
But Hinkie wasn’t a bookworm. In fact, he was a sports nut. The same keen eyes that would spot a kid pulled over by peace officers would spot Hinkie’s used Ford F-150 truck parked at the Marlow gym. Soon enough, friends would join Hinkie’s shooting practice, and a pickup game would break out.
“That was the kind of thing you could do in a place like that,” Hinkie said. “Basketball was a pretty important part of my life. I’d go to two or three team camps every summer, three or four individual camps every summer, had a key to the gym, go every day. Sometimes twice a day. It was important to me.”
Hinkie played football and basketball for the Outlaws. He’s long said he was just enough of an athlete to get you beat; 5-foot-9, 145 pounds. But Marlow made the state hoops tournament twice with Hinkie at point guard, and Hinkie played a mean defensive back, not breaking on passes so much as knowing where they were going before they were launched.
And years later, when Hinkie had an MBA from Stanford and corporate America was calling, the sports pull was too strong. Hinkie interned with the NFL 49ers and Texans, which led to a job with the NBA’s Houston Rockets, eventually the lieutenant’s job to GM Daryl Morey and finally, last May, the keys to the rebuilding 76ers.
No big surprise to anyone in Marlow.
“He’s one of the unique people,” Ridley said. “He’s not condescending in his intelligence. He can communicate with anybody. He’s got a gift with people.
“Analytics, he can break it down to where I can understand what he’s into. He’s everyman, with a super brain and loves athletics. He wanted to be a great player. Carved himself into a serviceable high school player. He can do anything he wants. Sports meant a lot to him.”
So does Marlow.
“A town full of hard-working, no-nonsense, humble people that have their priorities straight and don’t lose sight of it,” said Hinkie, who still tries to keep an eye on Marlow, since Marlow always kept an eye on him.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at . He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.