First Deaf Player in the NBA Holds Basketball Camp for Deaf Kids
Lance Allred, the first deaf player in the NBA, recently held an inspiring basketball camp for deaf kids in Salt Lake City.
As I entered the Sanderson Community Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, it first seemed to me that no one was communicating or providing instructions to those children. But as I paid close attention to what was actually going on, I saw plenty of coaching on the court and obvious excitement in those kids’ faces. Using sign language and facial expressions, Lance continually instructed and motivated those children to practice their basketball skills over and over again.
Standing in the middle of the court at 6 feet 11 inches, Lance stood as a giant to me, not only in stature but in fortitude, determination and perseverance.
Since his birth, Lance had to overcome tremendous obstacles and health challenges at first just to survive and later to develop his basketball skills and embark on a professional career.
Lance Allred was born in Salt Lake City but he spent his very early years growing up in a Fundamentalist Mormon community in Montana. He is a descendant of Rulon C. Allred, a prophet of the Apostolic United Brethren, a fundamentalist polygamous sect. However, his family became disenchanted with the group. They moved to Salt Lake City when he was 7 and completely broke away from the church six years later. He did not play organized basketball until eighth grade when he joined a team in the local LDS Church league.
Lance graduated from East High School and went on to play college basketball at the University of Utah and at Weber State University. His 10-year professional career includes contracts with the Cleveland Cavaliers and with many international teams. He has played on every continent and has been team captain for most of his career.
After playing his final season in Puerto Rico earlier this year, Lance announced his retirement from basketball and establish L Square Productions in Utah. Today, he is a dynamic keynote speaker and frequent television sports analyst.
Lance is also a published author. His autobiography, “Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA,” was published in 2009. He is currently writing two books, a 14th-century historical novel and a Victorian satire.
“All my life, I was told what I couldn’t do because of my hearing impediment,” says Allred. “So what did I do? I ignored them. I couldn’t hear them anyway.”
Lance Allred speaks to groups large and small. He can be reached through his website at www.LanceAllred41.com or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. About the author Adrian R. Escalante, MBA is a contributing writer and published author. He is the owner of Smart Media and Print in American Fork. His latest book, “LDS Member Guidebook: Understanding the Language, Culture, and Organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormons),” will be in LDS book stores by fall of this year.
Lance Allred with his team of coaches.