Sam Tarell

Who is Sam Tarell?

Sam Tarell is a Serial Entrepreneur, TEDx Speaker, and Award Winning Poet. He’s the Founder and President of Divergent U, a leadership academy in Orlando, Florida for creatives and entrepreneurs. Divergent U provides a one year alternative to college which helps students find their calling, start their business, and attract many more people to their chosen mission. Sam’s graduates have gone on to build multimillion dollar companies like FreetheRoots and global brands like CJ Champion. Divergent U is a revolutionary innovation in education with a vision to transform the education system to focus less on standardized tests and more on individualized goal setting and empowerment.  

Sam started his first business, Hoop Brothers, when he was 18 years old. Hoop Brothers is a basketball media company that produces highlight videos for high school basketball players to help them earn scholarships for college. He started Hoop Brothers as a passion project to help his brother Tiger receive a college scholarship. What started as a hobby turned into a national success over the course of 12 years. Sam’s brother Tiger eventually received a scholarship to play college basketball and Hoop Brothers produced over 10,000 videos for high school players to help them with their recruiting journey. In 2022 Sam promoted Jess Adams to CEO of Hoop Brothers and he exited the company full time. Hoop Brothers still produces thousands of videos per year and Sam remains the majority owner. 

In 2019, Sam gave a TEDx talk to share the impact of Hoop Brothers and the vision for Divergent U. He’s given over 500 talks on leadership, entrepreneurship, and communication. With the help of other thought leaders and industry experts, Sam wrote the entire curriculum for Divergent U which includes over 500 workshops, assignments, and one on one coaching sessions for students. His first book, The 7 Steps of Entrepreneurship, is a a free eBook documenting his journey scaling Hoop Brothers. His first workbook, The 12 Limitations, is exclusively available for Divergent U students. It’s an exploration into how to overcome every limitation standing between imagination and reality. In Sam’s decade long career of empowering individuals he’s helped over 100 entrepreneurs start and grow their own businesses. 


In addition to his professional accolades, Sam is also an award winning spoken word poet. He was featured in the Chicago Bridge Magazine as one of the top 20 spoken word poets in the country and he’s won multiple slam poetry competitions. His most viewed poem, Consumer, is a 3 minute reflection on consumerism and the harm it does to society. Sam showcases a poetic style with clever wordplay, complex rhyme schemes, and powerful punchlines. His latest poem, It’s Time, is a radical and aggressive call for social change. Sam has a unique ability to use conscious poetry to illuminate problems in society and empower his audience to take action in their lives. 

Sam was born in West Palm Beach, Florida on July 30th, 1993. His mom was an entrepreneur in tech and his dad was a lead engineer at Lockheed Martin.  His parents instilled a sense of leadership and determination that allowed Sam to overcome countless challenges on his pathway to success. He credits his creativity and willingness to challenge the status quo to the way he was raised. 

Sam’s family experienced hardships after the internet bubble burst in the year 2000. His parent’s divorce led to a series of moves which kept Sam from attending the same school for more than two years in a row. From age 7 to 18 Sam’s family moved over a dozen times including temporary periods of homelessness as well as temporary periods of financial abundance. The changing home environment gave Sam the adaptability necessary to lead through chaos. 

Sam has lost it all twice and had to rebuild from zero. The first time was in 2017 when he made risky financial investments into his own company that nearly bankrupt the business. The second time was in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown all of Sam’s businesses. In both cases Sam had to let go nearly his entire staff and his businesses barely survived. Sam’s story is proof that it’s possible to build something meaningful starting from zero even through hardships. He’s a thought leader of his generation and he’s on a mission to impact more lives.