Feb. 20, 193_ Port Arthur, TX
James Gamble was born in Texarkana, Arkansas. At an early age, his family moved to Los Angeles, California, where he graduated from Jordan High School. He attended East Los Angeles Junior College on a basketball scholarship. He graduated from Prairie View A & M University in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He also received a Master of Science degree from Prairie View A & M University.
Gamble was an outstanding athlete in high school, where he earned letters in basketball and track. At Prairie View, he was chosen as an All Southwestern Athletic Conference basketball player for two years. He was selected as an All-American in track on two different occasions. He also participated in the 1960 Olympic trials as a long jumper.
James Gamble’s illustrious teaching career began in 1957 at O.J. Thomas High School in Cameron, Texas. After one year of teaching, he served two years in the United States Army. After being discharged from the Army in 1960, he returned to Prairie View A&M University, where he served as Head Track Coach and Assistant Basketball Coach. In 1961, he was called to serve in the U.S. Army because of the Vietnam conflict. After his discharge, Gamble became Head Basketball Coach and Physical Education Teacher at the Port Arthur Lincoln High School in 1962.
During his tenure as teacher/coach at Lincoln High School, he was selected Teacher of the Year and led Lincoln basketball teams to Four State Championships. Additionally, Coach Gamble won five Regional Championships, thirteen Bi-District titles, and sixteen District Championships. He coached several All-Star teams and was voted District Coach of the Year on nine different occasions by his peers. Gamble won 670 games at Lincoln between 1963 and 1988. Prior to the 1998-99 season, Gamble came out of retirement and coached Lincoln to 29-6, and a State Finalist finish.
Coach James Gamble has received many accolades, honoring his storied career: Prairie View A & M University Hall of Fame (1991), Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame - New Orleans, Louisiana (1994), Texas African American Association Hall of Honor - Houston, Texas (1994), Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame (1995), Southeast Texas Coaches Association Hall of Honor (1997), and Texas High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor. In addition, in 1999, the city of Port Arthur re-named a section of Thomas Boulevard to James Gamble Boulevard. He was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast, Sports Hall of Fame, in 2021.