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Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA

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Overview

Lance Allred was probably the last person you'd expect to make it in professional sports. Not only did he grow up on a polygamist commune in Montana, he struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder. If those hurdles to the NBA don't seem large enough, Lance is also deaf.

Self-deprecating, witty, and wholly original, Longshot is the unlikely story of an unlikely athlete, who despite these factors and a lot of setbacks along the way, finally ...

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Longshot

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Overview

Lance Allred was probably the last person you'd expect to make it in professional sports. Not only did he grow up on a polygamist commune in Montana, he struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder. If those hurdles to the NBA don't seem large enough, Lance is also deaf.

Self-deprecating, witty, and wholly original, Longshot is the unlikely story of an unlikely athlete, who despite these factors and a lot of setbacks along the way, finally realized his dream of playing in the NBA, becoming the first legally deaf player in the league.

Lance 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 where he was "Mormon royalty" (his grandfather was prophet Rulon Allred of the fundamentalist sect) to his first time picking up a basketball (eighth grade), 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.

Going inside the competitive world of collegiate basketball and the strange experience of playing professionally in Europe, with paychecks that never arrive and a knee injury Lance's team didn't want to cover, Longshot recounts the moment when Lance hit rock bottom. When he came back to the United States for surgery, Lance was prepared to let go of his basketball dreams and become a high school history teacher like his dad.

But luckily he had an agent who didn't want to see Lance's dream die, and who found him a deal with the Idaho Stampede, an NBA Development League team in Boise. Although it was paltry pay, it was the last resort. And Lance slowly began to be noticed.

Revealing 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Adrian Wojnarowski
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.
Ian Thomsen
“Lance Allred is excruciatingly honest 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.”
Rudy Ruettiger
“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.”
Jim Morris
“What an incredible life. Lance’s story proves that the trials and tribulations he faced made him stronger.”
Dick Vitale
Longshot is a must read! It will inspire you and entertain you at the same time.
Kenny Mayne
“An inspiration for anyone who’s ever wanted to succeed at anything that appeared out of reach.”
Ric Bucher
“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.”
Yahoo! Sports
"He hasn’t just authored one of basketball’s most remarkable young lives, but a moving and funny memoir, ‘Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA,’ which was published in May."
Utah Standard-Examiner
“More than a story about how he beat the odds and wound up one of the best rebounders in the NCAA ... and then played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s a personal account of Allred’s struggle to rebound from challenges and make peace with himself.”
Yahoo Sports
“He hasn’t just authored one of basketball’s most remarkable young lives, but a moving and funny memoir, ‘Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA,’ which was published in May.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“The book is more than just about Allred’s time in the NBA and in the D-League. It’s also about his time at the University of Utah and growing [in] a polygamist colony...”
Wall Street Journal Online
“A wry and inevitably dramatic autobiography...”
Boise Weekly
“Beyond writing about his life in the game of basketball, Allred honestly portrays his life story in such a way that readers may feel they are sharing his journey.”
The Salt Lake Tribune
“A fascinating read.”
Deseret News
“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.”
Cleveland Scene
“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 . . .”
Booklist
In an ingratiating, self-deprecating style...[Allred’s] is a genuinely unlikely story, but he relates it with humor, insight, and compassion.
Salt Lake City Weekly
“In the land of recycled and formulaic sports bios, this book by a deaf, fundamentalist Mormon kid is definitely worth a read.”
Davis County Clipper
“If interesting life experiences are the mark of a good autobiography, then Lance Allred has a good head start.”
Sports Illustrated
“If there’s a prototypical path to a hoops career, Lance Allred didn’t take it. He’s not an NBA giant, but Allred’s memoir is inspiring.”
Sports Illustrated
“If there’s a prototypical path to a hoops career, Lance Allred didn’t take it. He’s not an NBA giant, but Allred’s memoir is inspiring.”
Booklist
In an ingratiating, self-deprecating style...[Allred’s] is a genuinely unlikely story, but he relates it with humor, insight, and compassion.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“The book is more than just about Allred’s time in the NBA and in the D-League. It’s also about his time at the University of Utah and growing [in] a polygamist colony...”
Deseret News
“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.”
The Salt Lake Tribune
“A fascinating read.”
Boise Weekly
“Beyond writing about his life in the game of basketball, Allred honestly portrays his life story in such a way that readers may feel they are sharing his journey.”
Cleveland Scene
“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 . . .”
Salt Lake City Weekly
“In the land of recycled and formulaic sports bios, this book by a deaf, fundamentalist Mormon kid is definitely worth a read.”
Utah Standard-Examiner
“More than a story about how he beat the odds and wound up one of the best rebounders in the NCAA ... and then played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s a personal account of Allred’s struggle to rebound from challenges and make peace with himself.”
Yahoo Sports
“He hasn’t just authored one of basketball’s most remarkable young lives, but a moving and funny memoir, ‘Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA,’ which was published in May.”
Wall Street Journal Online
“A wry and inevitably dramatic autobiography...”
Davis County Clipper
“If interesting life experiences are the mark of a good autobiography, then Lance Allred has a good head start.”
Publishers Weekly

Allred played basketball with the University of Utah, then Weber State, before eventually joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008, and recounts in folksy, unpretentious prose his long, arduous dream fulfilled to make the NBA. Rendered mostly deaf as an infant, possibly from complications due to his Rh blood incompatibility with his mother, Allred grew up in a fundamentalist polygamist commune in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, founded by his own grandfather who was escaping government persecution for his pluralist beliefs. Infighting among the incestuous group members eventually drove the author's family out, and they settled in Salt Lake City. There the author, who grew to be 6'11", suffering from asthma, and obsessive-compulsive disorder and equipped with hearing aids, began to excel in high school basketball. Recruited on scholarship to Utah, he played three years under the brutally exacting coach, Rick Majerus, only to feel his sense of self slowly extinguished by the coach's abusive practices. Allred's voice is humorously self-deprecating and youthfully winning. Frank about his shortcomings (he had to scrounge for professional gigs in Turkey and elsewhere before hitting a spot in the NBA), he delivers an accessible, competent narrative, with highly unusual details about his Mormon roots. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
One of the NBA's unlikeliest players recounts his long, strange path to the pros. Allred isn't the first fundamentalist Mormon to play on professional basketball's biggest stage, but he was the first legally deaf player in the league, and he might have the most inimitable back story. The grandson of revered "prophet" Rulon Allred, founder of a polygamist commune in Pinesdale, Mont., the author grew up in a household with only one mother while his friends had several. After tensions within the community forced his family to flee, they settled with relatives in Utah, where Allred dealt with the double stigma of coming from a polygamist community and being almost entirely deaf. Basketball, however, proved an ideal outlet for the 6'11" teen; it didn't require perfect hearing and productively channeled his rapidly growing obsessive-compulsive disorder. His hard work was rewarded with a scholarship to play for the University of Utah, his favorite college team. That experience ended abruptly during his sophomore year, when verbally abusive coach Rick Majerus allegedly made disparaging remarks about Allred's handicap. After transferring to Weber State and battling his OCD, Allred completed his collegiate eligibility and became a basketball vagabond, accepting offers to play with professional teams in Turkey, France and Spain. Injuries, shady contracts and inconsistent playing dogged him at every stop, and he nearly threw in the towel before signing a $12,000 contract with the Idaho Stampede of the NBA's developmental league. All ended well when Allred impressed scouts and earned a contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, becoming a rookie in the NBA at age 27. His narrative suffers from an identitycrisis: Is it a polygamy expose, inspirational story of triumph over adversity, Paul Shirley-esque tale of a basketball outsider, personal journal or basketball chronicle? All of the above, it turns out, and that makes it a welcome departure from cookie-cutter sports autobiographies. Unfocused but unique. Author appearances in New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Denver, Salt Lake City
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061718588
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lance Allred

Lance Allred won Utah's high school player-of-the-year award. After playing for the University of Utah for two years, a dispute with his coach led Allred to transfer to Weber State, where he graduated with a double-major in English and history. Lance is a 6' 11" center who played professionally in Europe and then in the NBA Development League. In April 2008, Lance signed on as a rookie with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 1, 2009

    What an inspiration. Perfect Graduation Gift!

    Perfect Graduation Gift!!!!

    What an awesome story. The author's voice really comes through, which is so impressive that he wrote it himself, as opposed to going the typical route of a ghost writer, or co-contributor. It lends a truly personal side to the story.

    Non-sports lovers shouldn't be scared off by this, it goes so far beyond basketball. His stories range from heartbreaking to embarrassing, but most of all detail the triumphs of the fragile human spirit. His sense of humor is dry, self depricating and sometimes almost snide. But charming and endearing nonetheless. The polygamy angle is titillating enough, but not to the point of a tattle tell-all. Great balance to that, and really facinating.

    I personally loved his stories of being overseas, and having to scrap in the developmental league. It gives a totally different perspective, to which you cannot help but to have respect for professional athletes. It's truly not all glamour.

    In the end, you left the book feeling better about yourself, like maybe, just maybe you can dare to dream. For cryingout loud, if a Deaf, Fundamentalist, Mormon Kid can make it to the NBA, anything is possible!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Longshot is a must read!

    I loved it! My aunt got a copy when it came out on tuesday, and stayed up all night reading it. She told me she couldn't put it down, and yesterday told me I had to read it.

    And then I stayed up until 3:00AM reading it-- couldn't put it down.

    I am a teacher, and have always loved inspirational stories. Talk about a triumph--a deaf kid making it to the NBA. Lance's story is funny, witty, touching, enlightening and very entertaining. I loved his portrayal of his childhood in polygamy, his insights on the abusive infighting in a cult, and his obvious love and devotion to his parents who were brave and strong enough to get out-- and that's only the beginning.

    I loved his sense of humor, how he always poked fun at himself and those he loves, while bringing powerful imagery to his story telling. Having taught dozens of kids with disabilities I can appreciate his strength to overcome his limitations in the spoken language. Last night I watched some of the videos on his website where he tells his story. I am amazed how well he speaks for someone so impaired. What a credit to him and his parents for dragging him to speech therapy all those years when he didn't want to go.
    His recounting of his childhood and years in school reminds me of so many kids I have taught. His self-deprecating humor made me laugh so hard I had tears in my eyes. What a story teller.

    Now for the best part. Having coached and worked with high school kids with big dreams, I know how powerful that dreams can be. Reading about how Lance found basketball, and gave his heart and soul to it is truly inspiring. His stories about his experiences with Majerus at Utah reminded me of other heartbreaking stories of some of my former students who reached for the stars and gave up. But Lance just kept on. His recountings of his experiences in Europe were hilarious and informative. His experiences in the D-League and his call up to the Cavaliers was better than any book about a national championship team I have ever read. I have to admit that I was rooting for him and got choked up when he got the call. When he tells about how he told his family, "I got called up to the Cavaliers," I was wiping the tears.

    I've been telling everybody about Longshot today.

    Longshot will be the gift to my friends and family this year, especially to those who are graduating, beginning a new career, or simply daring enough to have a dream and go for it. You will love it, I promise. Thanks to my aunt for telling me to read it.
    I hope Lance writes a sequel. I'll be one of the first to read it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Lance Allred was a professional basketball player who made it to

    Lance Allred was a professional basketball player who made it to the NBA. He did not have a distinguished career as he appeared in three games for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2007-08 season. That is not what makes this book and his story interesting. It is how he got there that is captured in “Longshot.”

    He was raised in a small Montana compound where polygamy was practiced. His family was targeted for harm by fundamentalists. He later converted to the Mormon faith. Just his youth experiences would make for a tale that would be worth the time to read, but that is far from the whole story. He writes about his high school basketball coach with reverence, his college experience at the University of Utah and legendary coach Rick Majerus with a little less enthusiasm. The reason for this is that he believed that the coach was discriminating since Allred was deaf.

    This handicap is important to the story. While Allred did not try to make the reader feel sorry for him because of this condition, it was mentioned often enough that it seems that way. At times while reading, I thought to myself, “Yes, I know you are deaf. Now carry on.” Thankfully he doesn’t do this with other afflictions he had, such as foot and knee injuries. In fact, some of the funnier parts of the book are his anecdotes about how he dealt with these. His tryout for a team when his foot was injured was one of the funnier parts of the book that I enjoyed. Although that particular passage would not be for the squeamish!

    Basketball fans will especially enjoy the sections about his time in the NBA Developmental League, or D-League as it is commonly called. It will certainly remind people that not every professional athlete, no matter the sport, lives a life of luxury.

    Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Allred’s memoir about his struggles and path to finally achieve his dream of playing in the NBA. Sometimes when looking for a book on an athlete, skipping the stories of the superstars and reading about a fringe player like Allred can be a rewarding experience. That was the case with this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    CHRIS??

    Cris thorpe was a nba plarer. IS IT REALLY YOU CRIS??!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Loved it!

    Very amusing! Great storyteller!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2009

    Loved it!

    Highly recommend this book! It was very funny, interesting and inspiring!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted December 16, 2009

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    Posted August 19, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2009

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    Posted January 25, 2010

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