He was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan on November 10, 1956.
He attended Benton Harbor High School, where he was in the marching band as well as the math club. He attended college from 1974 to 1978 at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, where he lettered two seasons for the basketball team. He also served in the United States Air Force as a boom operator
In an attempt to stand out in the entertainment industry, Adkins worked under the professional name Sinbad, which he chose out of admiration for Sinbad the Sailor. He began his stand up comic career appearing on Star Search.