Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Round 2: NBA Hoops from a Different Angle

Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA. Could you pack any more explosive words into that title? I think not. Keep the matches out of reach too.

Matter of fact, the title reminds me of Rick Reilly’s satirical book about a hoops-crossed youngster nicknamed “Slo-Mo.” Mo had all the “physical tools,” as the basketball bards like to say. He just had to, had to supersede his cult to reach the great beyond of the NBA, right?

Anyway, that’s a selection for another day. Today we’re examining Lance Allred’s true-story trek to pro hoops. Longshot begins with a mixture of blood and tears streaming down the drain. That’s how bad Lance Allred wanted it. Have you ever wanted something that bad?

You should read Longshot because:
1. Lance Allred is an inspiration because he is an overcomer.
Deafness alone was enough to make him an outcast to almost anyone he encountered. No wonder he often hid the huge monstrosities that helped him hear the jeers that inevitably came his way as a youngster. His mom had to send Allred’s siblings, “the hounds,” as he referred to the search party, scavenging all over the house (Longshot, 9). Allred’s writing style resembles David Sedaris; frequently the basketball big man resorts to humor to relay a serious or awkward point.

2. Allred’s trek is both hilarious and heartbreaking, something all of us have dealt with at some time in life.
Backed by an NBA contract, Allred has come a long way because of unyielding desire. It is difficult to believe that he once “sucked” and “couldn’t dribble to save my life.” (72) However, Allred takes you every step of the way and should provide hope if you are in the middle of dismal circumstances.

3. Because Plan A wouldn’t work, Allred found other ways to accomplish his goals, encouraging readers to do the same.
A few years before he played professional ball, Allred found himself in Greece. Remember, while many of us can learn a language after applying ourselves, studying wasn’t going to make a bit of a difference for him. He turned to the universal language, sign language, to break down barriers. Being 6-8 was also helpful. (153)

Lance Allred finished his contract in an Italian pro basketball league in November. Like so many of us, he appears to be in limbo as far as what’s next. Hit up his blog to read the latest.

Sam Miller/Free Keon

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