The little known story of basketball player Lance Allred is far more amazing and improbable and than even the saga of the sporting world’s most famous Lance A.(which is pretty impressive since that dude won a kajillion Tours De France, including once after surviving testicular cancer). His journey is so unusual that I feared if I fully described who he is in my post’s title, everyone would think I was making up a story or attempting some dumb joke. Believe it or not, Allred is a seven-foot deaf Mormon who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), grew up in a polygamist community, is a published author, two-time D-League basketball All-Star, and the grandson of a fundamentalist sect’s prophet. And there’s more.
When he’s done with bbball, he plans on getting a PhD. His first book was on his remarkable journey, but the second one (which may be done by now) is historical fiction on the 14th century Teutonic Knights in Germany. Plus there’s the insanity he had to deal with at the University of Utah under coach Rick Majerus. From an excellent profile written last year by Adrian Wojnarowski on Yahoo:
He survived three years with Majerus, whose relentless abuse included declaring Allred a “disgrace to cripples” and telling him he had “weaseled his way through life using his hearing [loss] as an excuse.” Allred said Majerus tortured him in ways overt and subtle, pushing him to the brink of a nervous breakdown and ultimately post-traumatic syndrome.
If Allred makes the Pacers’ roster, it won’t be the first time a deaf person has played in the NBA because he already holds that distinction. In 2008 the Cleveland Cavaliers signed him for a month and he played two games. While being invited to training camp can often be a far, far cry from ever being offered an actual roster spot, he actually may have a chance. Indiana traded away last year’s starting power forward, Troy Murphy. They’d hoped to have Tyler Hansbrough take over the slot, but he’s still suffering from the same mysterious vertigo that caused him to miss most of last season. That leaves Josh McRoberts, who in three 82-game seasons, has only gotten into 83 games total. This could result in backup center Jeff Foster moving to power forward, thus opening up some minutes for another big. If Allred can show during training camp that he can also play some power forward, that might strengthen his case too.
Regardless, he’s had an amazing, tough sojourn, yet remains pretty upbeat. If Woj’s profile and this only whet yer appetite for more info on him, check out his book, “Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA,”