LeBron James’ forgotten teammate was the NBA’s first deaf player and was born in a polygamist community before becoming a legend

LANCE Allred has overcome a range of experiences and challenges to play professional basketball around the world for over a decade.

The 42-year-old retired big man became the first deaf player to play in the NBA when he shared the court with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008.

Lance Allred was the first deaf NBA player


Lance Allred was the first deaf NBA playerPhoto credit: Getty
He played one season in the NBA


He played one season in the NBAPhoto credit: Getty

Allred spent one season in the NBA as a 27-year-old rookie, but played internationally for over ten years.

He was born legally deaf into a fundamentalist polygamous family.

Allred lived in a rural community in Montana and had limited resources to accommodate his hearing impairment before his family moved to Utah when he was 13.

He was bullied as a child for wearing hearing aids and didn’t play basketball until he was in eighth grade, adjusting to his new life outside of his childhood.

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Allred was a standout high school player at Utah and was considered a top recruit in the United States.

He played for the University of Utah for two years before transferring to Weber State University, where he was named an Academic All-American and was on the honor roll every semester he attended school.

As a senior, he ranked third in the nation in rebounding with 12.0 rebounds and 18 points per game.

Despite the strong numbers, he went undrafted and had to play overseas in Turkey, France and Spain, followed by two years in the NBA development league.

Allred got his chance in the NBA after the Cleveland Cavaliers offered him two 10-day contracts in 2008 before signing him for the rest of the season.

He played alongside future Hall of Famer James and shared his experiences with the King.

Only once, at the very end of a game in 2008, when the Cavaliers were on the brink of defeat, did they share the court – Allred checked in with 14 seconds left, and he describes that moment as James hitting him made meaningful.

“He threw the ball to me just so I could hold it,” Allred said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

“I didn’t even ask. Just the fact that he had the wherewithal and the awareness to know and acknowledge that.”

“It shows how empathetic he is and how much he processes at once.”

Allred left basketball in 2014, founded a technology company called Manestream, became a keynote speaker and has written five books.

Lance Allred was a teammate of Lebron James


Lance Allred was a teammate of Lebron JamesPhoto credit: Getty


ClareFora is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: clarefora@dailynationtoday.com.

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