Forgotten LeBron James teammate was NBA’s first deaf player and born into polygamist commune before becoming legend

LANCE Allred overcame a list of experiences and challenges to play professional basketball worldwide for over a decade.

The 42-year-old retired big man was 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 playerCredit: Getty

He played one season in the NBA

He played one season in the NBACredit: Getty
Allred spent one season in the NBA  as a 27-year-old rookie but played over ten years internationally.

He was born legally deaf and into a fundamentalist polygamous family.

Allred lived in a rural community in Montana with limited resources to acclimate his hearing disability before his family relocated to Utah when he was 13.

He was bullied as a kid for wearing hearing aids and didn’t play basketball until eighth grade as a way of adapting to his new life outside of his childhood upbringing.

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

He played two years for the University of Utah 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.

In his senior senior, he finished third in the nation in rebounding at 12.0 rebounds, along with 18 points a game.

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

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

He played alongside future Hall of famer James and communicated his experience playing with the King.

They shared the court just once at the very end of a 2008 game when the Cavaliers were about to lose — Allred checked in with 14 empty seconds left, and he describes that moment as James making it meaningful.

“He threw me the ball just to let me hold it,” Allred expressed in an Interview with the Wall Street Journal.

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

“It goes to show how insightful he is and how much he processes all at once.”

Allred walked away from basketball in 2014, opened a tech company called Manestream, became a keynote speaker, and has written five books.

Lance Allred was teammates with Lebron James

Lance Allred was teammates with Lebron JamesCredit: Getty

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