Title/Author:“Longshot” by Lance Allred
Tags:Basketball, professional, NBA, Cavaliers, autobiography
May 21, 2009
Rating:4 of 5 stars (very good)
Review: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.
Did I skim?
Did I learn something new?Yes. In addition to learning about the culture of polygamy and Mormonism, I learned about the D-League and that it really isn’t the “minor league” of the NBA. The life of a D-League player is nothing like that of a minor league baseball player.
Pace of the book:Very good. Lance’s story was never boring.
Positives:I enjoyed the basketball portions of the book, especially his experience in Europe (another excellent source of humor in the book) and in the D-League.
Negatives:The biggest negative I found was the constant reference to his deafness. This has been noted in the review, and while important, I felt Allred reminded the reader about this a little too often.
Do I recommend?Yes, especially for those readers who like inspiring stories. Readers who are not basketball fans will like this book as well because of the information on other topics. There is very little about basketball in the first third of the book, and the story will grab any reader enough that he or she will want to keep going.