NBA’s first Deaf Player – Lance Allred

Lance Allred

On March 13, the Cleveland Caveliers brought up Lance Allred from the lower leagues.

“You might say that the story of D-League Call-Up Lance Allred is slightly… different. For starters, he came out of Weber State. He’s white and slightly gawkish. He plays chess often, and has a passion for the game. And though he won’t talk about it, for fear of grandstanding, he also suffers from 80% hearing loss, rendering him partially deaf and forcing him to use hearing implants. And he’s certainly had his share of adversity. Through all of this, Allred has shared the same dream of many D-League players: Playing in the NBA.” Hardwood Paroxysm.

“I was told by a teacher that God had made me deaf as punishment because I wasn’t faithful in a pre-existence. Who tells a 5-year-old kid that?”


14 thoughts on “NBA’s first Deaf Player – Lance Allred

  1. Does Lance know sign language? When I saw your title, “the first Deaf….” you got me thinking hard if there was ever one in NBA…..apparently none that I know of but one name did come up was Michael Doleac, he’s coda and uses ASL fluently. I don’t remember which team he’s on right now.

    I’ve heard few that was invited to NBA and CBA tryouts.

    I’m little surprised because NFL already had few but I think for communicating …being on a basketball team is lot easier for Deaf to communicate with teammates than it is on football team. I know I know I’m bringing up communicating issues here. This is how I see it.


  2. I know there was very good deaf basketball player in the late 70’s and early 80’s by the last name of Poole (I think his first name was either George or Michael, not really sure).

    I heard something about him being the last player cut in training camp for the Los Angeles Lakers one year.

    Apparently the player the Lakers chose to keep over Poole was Michael Cooper. He went on to win 5 world championships with the Lakers along with being named to the NBA’s all-defensive teams 8 times (1st team 5 times). Cooper won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 1987.

    If the story is true, Poole must have been quite a player to make it to the last cut and lose out to one of the greatest defensive players in basketball history.

    I’m not sure how accurate that story is but that is the closest I’ve heard about a deaf player making it into the NBA.


    • hey lance,
      i just wanted to let you know that im eactly who you are. Im a deaf mormon basketball player. Im currently a freshman starting on a JV basketball team. I live in San Diego Californa. I hope we can somehow keep in touch.
      Brett Havertz


  3. I just remembered this and had to come back to this post….one Deaf player tried out for a CBA team in my hometown Fort Wayne Fury….it was Willie Brown, he went through several cuts until the last one. I don’t know if he tried out for any more teams afterward. That year would be like in 1994.


  4. Same guy who played for USA in World Deaf Basketball Championships in Athens. This was enough for him to stay interested in playing professional basketball so he transferred from University of Utah to Weber State.

    Lance grew up orally. Play basketball first time while in high school when East High School in Salt Lake City noticed his height while in 9th grade.

    Here’s the suggestion – when he is in your town – make it a point to show up for the games and invite him to late dinner if possible with group of deafies. I don’t care if it is small or big “D”.

    And he does have quite a number of deaf cousins, some are well known in Utah’s Deaf Community.


  5. From

    Re-signed: The Cavs are expected to re-sign center Lance Allred to his second 10-day contract. Allred has played just one minute and taken one shot since joining the Cavs on March 13 but the team is pleased with his performance in practice.

    “I’m glad I’m here,” Allred said. “I’m really enjoying Cleveland and museums on University Circle and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”



    In 2004, he told a Salt Lake newspaper that Majerus had called him a “disgrace to cripples,” a claim backed up by two of Allred’s ex-teammates. And one day, as punishment for some now-forgotten offense, Majerus ordered Allred to be tested for a learning disability.

    Allred was anything but disabled. He’d aced the ACTs. After 10 minutes of questions on the special-needs test, the woman testing him asked what he was doing there. “So I told her,” he says. “‘My coach wants to humiliate me even though I have the highest GPA on the team.’

    After two years at Utah, Allred transferred to nearby Weber State, where he earned All Big-Sky conference honors and graduated with a double-major in English and history. Undrafted, he started his pro career overseas.


    Wally Szczerbiak might play more, but Lance Allred has three books in the works.


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