This is my review of Lance Allred's book. The article appears in this week's issue of Scene, but is here in advance for all you bloglovin' types.
Lance Allred was active for 17 games with the Cavs during the 2007-2008 season. He actually appeared in only three of those games, logging a total of 10:05 played while going 1-4 from the floor, 1-2 at the free throw line, and grabbing one rebound. So you can be forgiven for not knowing who he is. A 10-day contract-type player doesn’t merit the fans’ attention, especially when the team is pushing towards the playoffs behind LeBron James.
But there was much more to Allred coffeebreak-length pro career. Plenty of media outlets wanted to tell his story, including this very alt-weekly. Lance was not just a nameless, faceless big white guy on the end of the bench. Lance had grown up in a fundamentalist Mormon compound in Montana before becoming the first deaf player in the NBA. And he was plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Allred had baggage.
After an NPR report, Harper Collins came calling. They wanted to send a ghostwriter to help him write an autobiography. His agent, John Greig, laughed. There was no way Allred would have that. Lance, in addition to being a damn good basketball player and history buff, was a fine writer, and if anyone was going to write his book, it was going to be him. In fact, he had already started, sort of a cathartic process in the midst of one struggling season.
The result is Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA, which is on sale now, a harrowing and moving look at Allred’s life growing up in a polygamous compound, his family’s escape to Utah, his travails of living a hearing-impaired life and his improbable if brief pro basketball career.