The first legally deaf player in the NBA, Lance Allred overcame numerous obstacles to get where he is today. He recounts his journey in Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA (HarperOne). Self-deprecating, witty, and wholly original, Longshot is the unlikely story of an unlikely athlete, who despite these struggles and a lot of setbacks along the way, finally realized his dream.
Now a sought after speaker for universities, sports camps, and community organizations for kids with disabilities across the nations, Allred's presentations reveal the resilient heart of a young man who truly believes that it's not about failure or success but about being willing to try. Longshot is a Rudy story for a new generation, a tale of inspiration, dedication, and the power of a dream.
Hearing impaired since birth, Lance Allred was raised in a Polygamist, Fundamentalist Mormon Community in rural Montana, with limited resources at his disposal to accommodate his disability. He was forced to adapt to the world around him, observing the behaviors and dichotomy of plural marriage around him in contrast with the monogamous marriage of his parents who were a beloved and influential couple in the community.
After moving to Utah, the family ultimately split from the Allred Group and joined the mainstream Latter Day Saints Church in 1994, when he was 13 years old. At the same time, Allred took up the game of basketball as a means to find new friends and fit in at his new school in downtown Salt Lake City. Bigger than most kids his age and with large hearing aids in his ears, Allred was an easy target for bullying. Set on a path to depression at a young age, Allred faced internal conflicts that manifested in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He kept his troubles hidden by focusing on basketball. In speech therapy until the age of 15, Allred was encouraged by his parents, Vance and Tana, both of whom were school teachers, to read and write as a form of communication, and he received a number of rewards for his writing throughout his early years in school.
Allred emerged from East High School as a top player in the Western U.S. and graduated with Honors. After playing two years at the University of Utah, he transferred and finished up his career at Weber State University, where he was named an academic All-American. Despite finishing third in the nation in rebounding, Allred was not drafted into the NBA and looked for employment overseas where he played in Turkey, France, and Spain. Following a disappointing year overseas, he spent two years in the NBA development league until he was finally called up on March 12, 2008, by the Cleveland Cavaliers, making him the first legally deaf player in the NBA.
Allred refused to let others' expectations hinder his dreams, and his refreshing sense of humor about his disability allowed him to face these setbacks without giving up. From his childhood on the commune to the first time he picked up a basketball, to his clumsy efforts to build his skills while growing into his 6'11" frame, Longshot is a riveting account of a young man finding his purpose and letting the love of the game drive him toward his ultimate goal.
Praise for Longshot:
"Longshot is a must read! It will inspire you and entertain you at the same time."
- Dick Vitale
"Longshot is more than a remarkable sports story. It's a reminder of how much can be accomplished when you never give up on a dream."
- Rudy Ruettiger, subject of the original motion picture Rudy
"What an incredible life. Lance's story proves that the trials and tribulations he faced made him stronger."
- Jim Morris, author of The Rookie
"In a devastatingly honest and poignant book of family, basketball, and life, Lance Allred, the best writing big man ever, mesmerizes with a memoir born of the cruelty and inspiration of a game that could never hold him down."
- Adrian Wojnarowski, author of The Miracle of St. Anthony
"Lance Allred is excruciatingly hones without ever feeling sorry for himself. His painful and hilarious odyssey is more inspiring and triumphant than the story of any NBA championship. Allred has written The Glass Castle of pro sports."
- Ian Thomsen, senior NBA writer, Sports Illustrated
"Hoosiers meets Big Love with a dash of Crime and Punishment. You will never look at an NBA player, particularly those at the end of the bench, the same way again. Making the NBA is like crossing the Grand Canyon on a tightrope; making it as a 27-year-old deaf obsessive-compulsive polygamist's son is walking that tightrope while juggling bowls of hot soup - seemingly impossible, yet Allred did it and shows us how."
- Ric Bucher, senior writer, ESPN The Magazine
"An inspiration for anyone who's ever wanted to succeed at anything that appeared out of reach."
- Kenny Mayne, from the Forward
"If there's a prototypical path to a hoops career, Lance Allred didn't take it. A Mormon raised on a polygamist compound in Montana, the 6'11" Allred was born deaf and has battled obsessive-compulsive disorder. Still, he starred in high school and at Weber State, and last fall he had a preseason stint with the Cavs. He's not an NBA giant, but Allred's memoir is inspiring."
- Sports Illustrated
"In an ingratiating, self-deprecating style... [Allred's] is a genuinely unlikely story, but he relates it with humor, insight, and compassion."
"A Paul Shirley-esque tale of a basketball outsider...a welcome departure from cookie-cutter sports autobiographies."
- Kirkus Reviews
"Allred's voice is humorously self-deprecating and youthfully winning."
- Publishers Weekly
"A fascinating read."
- Salt Lake Tribune
"The stories of sports figures often focus so much on athletics that only sports fans find them compelling. That is not the case with Lance Allred's book Longshot... Allred's journey to fulfilling [his] dream is extraordinary, not just because of what he accomplished, but because of what he dealt with along the way. The book is much more than a feel-good, you-can-do-it-if-you-try chronicle. It is a gutwrenchingly honest account of a man whose story would be mesmerizing no matter what career path he chose... His story will move you, but it is Allred's decision to find strength in that which hurt and could have destroyed him that will inspire readers most... Ultimately Longshot isn't a book about making a dream reality, as much as it is making life's battles your blessings."
- Deseret News
"A harrowing and moving look at Allred's life growing... In 250 riveting pages, Allred honestly, breezily, and often hilariously recounts his life... His personal and familial history alone is worth the read..."
- Cleveland Scene
"In the land of reclycled and formulaic sports bios, this book by a deaf, fundamentalist Mormon kid is definitely worth a read."
- Salt Lake City Weekly
"If interesting life experiences are the mark of a good autobiography, then Lance Allred has a good head start."
- Davis County Clipper