“Catching up with the ‘Cats” tracks Weber State basketball alumni to find out where they are and what they’re doing now. This edition features Lance Allred, who recently retired from professional basketball.
During Lance Allred’s one year stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008, a ghost writer was sent his way to tell the story of how he grew up in a polygamous sect in Montana and went on to be the first and only deaf player to play in the NBA.
But Allred already had 800 pages written about his life and experiences before he was approached by the writer. Before his time in the NBA D-League and his time with the Cavaliers, he used writing as a means of coping with the frustrations and challenges that come from playing professional basketball overseas, which he did for several teams in countries all over the world.
The 800 pages were whittled down to 200 and the book Longshot was published in 2009. Allred also wrote the book Basketball Gods which was first published in 2011, and he now has a third book in the works.
Allred went on a speaking tour to promote his first book, and inadvertently discovered the next chapter in his life.
After retiring last year from professional basketball, he’s launching a career in motivational speaking.
“It’s a lot less stressful for me to be on a stage and talk to people because I don’t have to worry about hearing everyone,” Allred said. “I can just talk and not worry about what people are saying. When you learn to shoot a free-throw in front of 20,000 people that want you to fail, that’s pressure. All I had to do was get up and talk. It’s something that I really enjoy.”
After 20 speaking engagements in his first year, Allred’s career is about to take off as he has recently partnered with Rudy Ruettiger for a national speaking tour called “The Underdog Tour.” Ruettiger achieved his lifelong dream of playing football for Notre Dame in a story that is the inspiration for the sports film Rudy.
No dates or locations for the tour have been announced.
A mutual friend connected the two, and a friendship yielding opportunities has blossomed as a result.
“Everyone loves the story of Rudy because it’s all about heart and grit. That’s why Rudy decided to partner with me,” Allred said. “Rudy is an amazing guy. He’s got such a big heart. When I got to meet him, I was starstruck. Now I get to talk with him everyday and it’s just an honor. Doors are being opened and I’m very grateful.”
According to Allred, one of those doors that may be opened is Angelo Pizzo, the writer behind the movies Rudy and Hoosiers, taking serious interest in converting Allred’s story into a major motion picture.
While his future seems promising now, there was a time where he decided to retire early from playing basketball and wasn’t sure where he would earn his next paycheck.
“I was going through a divorce and I wanted to be with my son,” Allred said. “I had to be without him for five months, which was so painful. I had to take a step of faith and be a dad. It’s been the most challenging year of my life because I left behind what had become second nature as a basketball player. I could have done it for many more years because it was great job security, but it wasn’t worth being away from my son.”
Allred has dual citizenship with the United States and Mexico as his grandfather was born in Chihuahua. In basketball leagues outside of the U.S., there is a limit to how many Americans can be on a team. This rule didn’t apply to Allred in Mexico, thus giving him the opportunity to extend his career.
Good things are on the horizon for Allred, but he still holds a special place in his heart for Weber State.
“There’s just something different about Weber State players,” Allred said. “We were the guys that flew underneath the radar but we had that work ethic and tenacity and loved the game that set us apart. I’m very proud to be a Wildcat. Anytime I hear that there’s a Weber State get-together I’ve got to go. Back in March there was a University of Utah Alumni game at halftime for the 2002 team. I love those guys, but I felt no interest in going, at all. Whereas with Weber State I’ll be there at the drop of the hat.”