Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA


Uploaded by MSLawdotedu on 08.07.2010

Transcript:
welcome to the massachusetts school of law educational forum
i am diane sullivan your host for today's show
thank you for joining us this program is brought to you by the massachusetts
school of law at andover
during today's show you'll hear the story of lance allred and his dream and
his pursuit to play in the n_b_a_
we'll hear about growing up in a polygamous commune about being deaf
about lance's struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder
and picking up a basketball for the very first time when he was in the eighth
grade
he will take us inside the competitive world of basketball
listen to what he writes in his book long-shot with the first day now over nine more
were left before the final cut
I was now alone letting my tears flow as water pounded my back heavy with the weight of my
dreams
here i was in boise
trying to earn a twelve thousand dollar contract in the n_b_a_ development league
twelve thousand dollars
was that my worth
this was the last run
the end of the line and i knew it
lance turning back the clock of time
tell us a little bit about your early years in pinesdale montana
i grew up in a polygamous commune
pinesdale montana which had been founded by my grandfather rulon allred in the early
nineteen sixties to escape
persecution for his religious beliefs
however was used to any sort of lifestyle really because my father only
had one wife
the whole time I've known him and
you know at one point he did have a second wife but she left shortly after I
was born and so i don't have any recollection of her
and so it was normal to me to have one wife
or multiple wives
and it was basically your preference
and it didn't you know
come to my attention that hey this is kinda weird or whatever not until I finally started to
get older and i started going to public school outside of
pinesdale
that i saw oh okay people call us pinees
so we must be somewhat different
and you know it was fun though as a kid
it was a fun place to grow up
because you had all these little kids running around like smurfs
playing tag hide-and-seek pine cone wars and what not
and you know i had over four hundred first cousins
and wow
and i couldn't i wouldn't be able to name them all for you obviously
but
you know we had fun i enjoyed it very much and so but you know ignorance is bliss
and i was very innocent at that time and it was a good time
tell me what it's like specifically to take a seat at the table
in a polygamous kitchen
well you know if
i always tell the story if you sit
quietly long enough
in a polygamous home
you will see all the sister wives and all the dynamics come out
very quickly
and that oh I bet they will they will band together to you know
force the husband to give them something
but once one sister wife leaves
and then another sister wife leaves they all kind of start to start to nip at each other
start back-biting
and then eventually when the husband comes home and there's only one wife she'll
sell 'em all down the river to get what she wants
and so it it's a fascinating and very entertaining dynamic that you see
and it's human nature
it really is so unrealistic to ask a
woman to share her husband with another man
and think that it's just going to be all fun and games it's not and I could to tell you
that
yeah
definitely you saw a lot of a lot of
ache and anxiety in the women and I remember and i remember when my aunt who I loved very much
had to allow her husband to be given away to a second wife
she
on the surface
on the facade was very calm
very grateful to be
sharing her husband to the principle of it
but i remember when he left on his honeymoon i saw my aunt crying
alone in her bedroom
i mean it was hard
and
it's a kind of a misnomer that people have is that
you know all
polygamists are
sex fiends or whatnot or i mean no actually a lot of them are very celibate
in that very archaic in that you only have intercourse for the sake of procreation
and so it becomes very
strict like that
and so it's not
it's not all this romance and beauty that a lot of people
uh big love will sometimes portray
and uh i watched it once and
having my
intelligence insulted i never watched it again but obviously that's part of
t_v_ entertainment to
you know sensationalize some aspects that are pretty exaggerated
as an infant
everybody believed that you were mentally challenged you were not you were deaf
what special and unique problems does being a deaf toddler present
oh you get frustrated you can't understand what people are saying to you sure and you want them to
look at you and they're talking but they're not looking at you when they talk so you go and
grab their face and scream at them
and incoherent words back because that's what it sounds like to you
and you know obviously there's frustration there as a kid and
you know it's
especially
you know
that people are functioning in a way that
you find it very difficult and so you know
it shouldn't be this hard
and so therefore i did have a lot of um
time outs pent up anger time outs yes a lot of timeouts I was the champion of the time out chair
and uh... yellow paddle that my father so lovingly made for me
he didn't make it for me exclusively he made it for all the kids but i
pretty much wore that one down to the bone
tell us about your
dad's fall from
the ladder his return to the college and the outrage that triggered in your
community
father
while building a home
uh... for the AUB the apostolic united brethren
fell off a ladder
and he broke it but then
within the same year
did it again he didn't fall off the ladder though he was actually on stilts doing some dry walling stuff
and he
just fell and his leg broke and shattered so therefore he had no money coming in
didn't have any any way to support his family
and yet there was an issue that
his older brother owed him money but the AUB elders of the group are saying
we shouldn't have to pay you because rex owes you money my dad's brother my
uncle saying well i shouldn't have to pay you because the AUB owes you money
because you got injured while working for them
and so it became this
obviously just
diversionary tactic on both sides to avoid having to pay my father and wanting
to help him
and meantime his leg is shattered you people need to eat yeah and everybody's
getting angry because
they don't want your father to get educated why exactly so
what happens was my father at that point said you know i'm going back to school
I'm gonna go do it
and they said well you know what if you go back to school you'll lose your faith
you'll lose your testimony
and they were right about it
and because they were accurate on that because as my father taught me and I learned
from him that
the more you learn to life the more you learn how little you know
but usually the people that think they know everything
are the ones that
know very little
or have a lot very little respect
or appreciation of other ways of life
and so you don't want to say those who are poorly educated
you know you don't want to generalize it like that
but usually the ones that are the most opinionated
are the ones that
don't always know what they're talking about
and so i learned that from my father when you when you grow I would I would see my
father
very slow to voice his opinion but i knew he was very intelligent
much more so than these other men that were very quick to
voice their opinions on things
and a lot of times they would just say stuff and I would think that doesn't make any sense
why would they say that and i would see my father do the exact opposite so it was a great lessen
right there as a kid to learn
of just
you know the power of education and the the uh... you know
just the different ways of thought because it was a very exclusive community
that was very
oppressive at the time
but my father was very much able to champion that idea and since he was able
to go back and do it
and graduate valedictorian
while supporting five kids
building a home
for his family he and mom and their four kids were living with my grandmother
and they accidentally got pregnant with me
and so they're all shacked up in this one
little house dad's gone back to school
and the only way he can do it is to go downtown to hamilton
and apply for welfare
that again infuriated people
because it made the elders in the Allred group look bad like they couldn't support
their own
so right exactly so what did they have to be upset about
now if they were paying dad money and he still went to welfare then they could complain about something
but they weren't doing either
and so
that again caused outrage tell me
about your brothers and sisters very briefly but the story i'm most
interested in
is vanessa and the bus driver well I'll start I'll start chronologically my oldest sister
raphael
um
i kept my distance from her as a kid
she uh she was very much a tom boy
always had a
a ponytail though a braid a braided ponytail and she loved to ride horses
but she tolerated me
that's that's the best way to put it she thought i was a spoiled brat
and I was
and uh
even while i had a hard time communicating I was very good at figuring out
people's tales and body language so I was very good at manipulating people to get
what i want as a lot of kids are
but um
raphael and i always kept a safe distance
but we have since
become very very close friends she owns her own medical practice in bend oregon
uh a great woman and uh
I have a lot of respect for her
and then my second sister vanessa was very much
my caretaker protector yes she was my surrogate mom i guess you could say when
mom wasn't around
and she loved to just take me and show me off to everybody she knew and
came to school and sometimes I remember I would just sit
at the foot of her desk while she was doing something
and I would just
play in a coloring book you could do that in montana those were good days
and when i got old enough to start taking kindergarten
uh we would take the bus to corvallis and then
bus back into pinesdale
but we had this diehard
bus driver named george uh you know
just permanently sunburned neckline because he was always out farming during the day
and then he would go and pick us up
and but he loved he would just yell at the kids all the time
and so you never said anything you just sat there in silence
the whole bus drive back
which was his objective you know oh yeah it was ok and and if you moved he'd look up
on you know those huge rearview mirrors that the bus drivers have right
he's like hey
you're not doing anything
but then one day i was walking
and getting on the bus
and i guess he said something to me I didn't hear him uh he said something to my back and I have a hard time
hearing when things aren't said to me
so I can't read his lips I didn't know he was addressing me
and
my sister behind me
vanessa just right behind me she just turned hands on her hips
and because george starting getting mad and he said what are you deaf
vanessa turns and hands on her hips and says
yes he is deaf as a matter of fact george you know
what are you gonna do about it and you know vanessa was very much protective of me
and uh I adored her and she adored me
and you know we were all very close because there were five of us within eight
years
the third sister the middle child tara
she and i have
a very good relationship now
but we did not get along as kids
she
she first off was very much wanting to be my
babysitter
and i didn't like that
but then also she was the youngest daughter
and so therefore there was a clash between being the youngest daughter and
i the youngest child right
and so it's uh... it's natural knowing what i know now she's a social worker
and I'm more of a you know I am an historian but I love the psychological analysis of history
so I'm kind of a blend of that
and so I mean we can obviously talk about it now we just laugh about it
and we get along very well now but at the time
uh
she drove me crazy
but
then my older brother court two years older than me he and I were best friends
and uh he was he was the toughest kid in town
he had a little mullet
going on and everything and he
he was a tough kid he was the athlete and uh
oh yeah he could've easily
been whatever he wanted to except for
a bad turn in health with back problems so that's
the allred family yeah that's but there's one important member we haven't talked about
your first dog
yeah szen the dog is what I called him as a kid
oh i loved him to death I can't really talk about him
because I get a little emotional
he knew he was the alpha dog
very protective
and he knew he understood me
and even though he couldn't talk to you he knew what was going on
and so he uh... he was very much a part of my life and as a kid I hated going to school
'cause as you know most kids are
pretty brutal to other kids
kids are brutally honest and so when you have the big hearing aids in your ear and you're
taller than
mostly everybody in the whole school as a first-grader
and you talk funny
your gonna be
an easy target for bullying
and so I was very quiet introspective as a kid so i would just go home
and just
play with szen
you know he and I would take walks behind the back lawn I just couldn't wait to get home
and uh... he was always there always
it was about twenty twenty two months when we
realized that he was hearing-impaired uh
severely
and i remember just bawling and crying on the way home from the doctor's office and
talking to vance and I just knew
that he would have a difficult life that people would make fun of him
and that he wouldn't ever be able to do all of the
things that we would want for him
so i get to say
i was wrong and i was right
uh... i was right in that it was difficult and people have made fun of
him
uh it was a very challenging life
i was wrong to every think that we could ever put any limitations on lance lance is going
to do whatever lance wants to do and so
that was very reassuring as a mother
it is a wonderful story
my parents came home devastated knowing that everything that they had believed pinesdale to be
was now a sham rather than a safe haven for the people of god it was a place where women
were not safe in their homes
rather than being ruled by the teachings of jesus christ it was ruled by the whims
and tempers of men
at the time I was too young to understand
and looking back it's just so silly that it even happened
and that
my mom's youngest sister my beautiful aunt audra she
she and her high school sweetheart
you know as I say just
perfectly
basically to the t reenacted bruce springsteen's the river
when that happens
and you know
it was sad and tragic but it's okay in rural nineteen eighty polygamist
commune pinesdale oh the horror you know it basically it was just
you may as well have the scarlet letter painted on your chest
sean was told to go and take audra from home because she was now his
property and
go elope and marry her
without anyone's permission
and dad intervened
and the leaders of the allred group in pinesdale
were very upset not really over the issue but the fact that dad would even dare to
challenge their right authority
and that led to a lot of hostility
and the tension was so bad that
we couldn't stay there anymore
so where do you move to
we moved to salt lake city well actually a suburb of salt lake murray utah
and we settle with my father's mother and my father's older brother
you're in about seventh-grade you're about twelve years old your parents file for bankruptcy
they run a youth conference group
what do they discover there
dad had in a
in a roundabout way very funny way
had actually become maybe the most influential man of the allred group
and but the fact that he didn't have a second wife
he wasn't eligible to be a candidate to become a quote unquote apostle
or a ordained
prophet
but he was very much the right hand man of his uncle owen who was considered the
prophet at the time so dad became a
privy to a lot of important information
and we had discovered that several leaders of the allred group
had been sexually abusing their children for years
mom and dad got
hints of it from time to time in pinesdale but
some of it was they chose not to see it
you know they were seeing it because again when you're investing so much into this
cause sure
you don't want anything to rattle your paradigm
and so they were to sometimes maybe not
fully process it because they didn't want to
but they knew stuff was going on but that was just kind of on the outer fringes with the
weirdos that sometimes do gravitate towards those settings
um but they felt that
as as a
whole everything was good
but when we discovered that the leaders had been doing it we're like okay
if these are men of god then why is this happening
and even at the age of twelve
I mean the law of deduction
you know by deducing the situation you realize you know yeah this doesn't make any sense
if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's probably a duck
and so if these are men claiming to be men of god
and they're sexually abusing their children
well against the commandments of god
either they're frauds or else god is a fraud
it's one or the other you know
and as a twelve-year-old you can easily see that
and i knew
I knew we were done
and mom and dad knew we were done
and we all expected the rest of
the allred group to fall apart
but it didn't
detective forbes shows up at your house
your family flees you have
five dollars to rebuild your life dad had actually been approached by
detective forbes who had been uh
detective for the county sheriff who was very much aware of the
of the abuse going on at the allred group
he found out that that dad was that he knew a lot of information so he started to work
with dad
um and we wanted to leave dad had actually by this time from
his uncle owen had
received the deed and will to an entire house and the property
which was unheard of in the allred group
everyone was like what are you doing owen why are you giving vance this property and he goes well
vance kind of deserves it
but also from what we know now there was some property tax stuff they didn't want
to have to pay so they gave it to us
and we decided okay
we're not going there anymore
to church
unless
owen cleans it up
and people were getting angry at us
because people want to stay in their paradigms and
i have a lot of respect for my father and my mother to be able to at the age of forty
two
cut their losses and move on
what courage that took
it it really is uh... amazing remarkable because
you know they they put
the safety of
of their own children well ahead of their own fragile egos
to be able to say you know
i want my daughters to be able to have these things in life
and i don't care if maybe the first forty two years of my life were a lie
i still have a great family I have a beautiful wife and that's enough for me
i can move on
but a lot of people
one like my aunts who were in plural marriages they couldn't just up and leave because were they
supposed to tell the second hey good luck we'll take the kids or you take the kids
but also when they're living on this property owned by the AUB they may
have built a house in pinesdale but
the property is owned by the AUB so they have no equity they can't just sell the house and leave so
they have nothing to
go to
and so while
pinesdale wasn't a fenced in compound it very much had very firm
emotional psychological borders
and just as you know it's the the analogy with the bear in the cage
at the zoo in that this tiny bear
the bear was in this tiny cage and people thought it was inhumane
and they gave it a bigger cage but the bear would never go further than the original distance
of his cage to get his food
and human nature is very much the same
and so people didn't want to have to go through that process and really analyze
what it is that they were doing and why
and so they they didn't want to say oh well the first thirty years of
my life were a lie now what
but then you realize that
that doesn't make them very
dissimilar from
people in monogamy
because how often do you see stay in unhappy or unhealthy relationships
just because they're like well i've been married now for five years if i get
divorced now it was all a waste right so
so you realize it's not that much different
but then also some people
could leave but they just didn't want to let go of the idea that they were special
that I'm a son of a prophet so therefore i'm automatically going to heaven
and when you're when you're raised with that entitlement it's hard to let it go
but at the same time it's also very liberating
to get out of that mindset and say you know what it's a big world out there
i can do whatever i want to do with my life
and they did
yeah and you pick up a basketball for the first time when you're really when
you're in about eighth grade
and you are starting to experience some ocd
in a positive way my obsession
my compulsion to play through scenarios of what i should've have done on the court and what I'd do the
next time
is part of what fueled me
my obsession demanded perfection and
it's what drove me and motivated me to keep working and working
to constantly make up for the mistakes I made on the court
I was my own worst critic and will always be no matter what negative thing
anyone says of me on the court
i have already said
something much meaner to myself
you also have asthma
you write in your book that basketball does not come naturally to you but you
make hallelujah the bryant team
and things take off from there it was a fortunate timing for me
because
at that time in my life as we left the allred group
I was also starting to
go through adolescence and puberty and different phases and it's a weird time
for anyone in their life
and so you start to have these thoughts going on inside your head you're like okay
am I sinning by having these thoughts because you're raised in a society like
pinesdale you don't think
let alone talk about these things
and
you know so i began to have these thoughts of hell
and sin
and god's punishment
and as we left the allred group there was so much transition going on around me
that I didn't have much of a
safety net or comfort zone
and so i began to analyze a lot of things that really the thing about OCD
you have to know and understand is that we know these thoughts are stupid
we know they're irrational
we know that the impulse to go flick that light switch is just completely ridiculous
but we have to do it
otherwise who knows what happens but we just don't want to find out
we have to do it we have to think about these things
and my compulsion became depraved
i would sneak away in the middle of class go pray heavenly father I'm sorry for having these thoughts
I didn't I didn't mean please don't be angry with me please don't send me to hell
and so i was very much the victim of a broody god
an angry god
and one that i
had been raised to
believe was there and so
at that time though fortunately
we moved to a new part of salt lake a new life
and we had joined the mainstream LDS church
and so therefore i was
adapting to my new lifestyle and I didn't have any friends and so it just made
sense to hey I'll start playing basketball as a way to fit in at this new school and start
playing and making new friends
and also in that year my eighth grade year I grew from five ten to two six four
and so it just made sense you know
i slept a lot that year I was in pain but you know hey it's uh it was fun to have a
sense of comraderie
that I could just go and step on the basketball court
and just play and have fun and
i don't have to worry about talking
I happened to turn on
the radio one saturday night and bill littlefield who i like a lot he's been on
this show as a matter of fact um his program it's only a game
i tuned in and you were speaking
and you were telling the story of playing basketball your dad's up in the
stands the referee blows the whistle
and you don't
behave the way he wants you to so tell us the rest of that story
uh you know it this this was the mid nineties back when it was really cool
to you know raise your hands at the foul line and whatever you weren't waving them you just
stand there and hold them as though somehow you think it's actually going to change or affect someone's free
throw
but we were young and stupid
and so we would do that
and
the ref
you know kept blowing his whistle but i don't play with my hearing aids in because of
the sweat problem but also because of the noise and everything it just creates
so much feedback that it shut down
and so i've always learned to be uh
i learned to be a visual player I learned to watch and recognize people's patterns
and physical responses and so it becomes more of a game of chess
and you recognize tendencies and that's why i love basketball it's beautiful game
and so this ref
kept blowing this whistle on me
and kept giving this kid
the ball back on the free throw line
and so he shot
eight free throws
eight free throws
I never heard of it
yeah and then they won so he finally made his two free throws and they won
and my dad went and talked to the official after the game and says excuse me sir can you explain why
um
what was happening at the end of the game
and the ref said well that kid he was just being a brat I mean I told him to put his arms but he just looked at me completely
ignored me
and oh what a brat
and that's the p_g_ context
and my dad takes my hearing aids out and says I'm sorry but my son's deaf and he couldn't hear what
you were saying to him
the ref's face goes ghostly white awww
I'm sure he didn't sleep for a week but i got I got over it you got over it on to the next game
yeah because i mean
i have fun with stereotypes
um you can say what you want about generalizing people but
rather than getting offended about it
I'm the deaf kid whose father raised him on helen keller jokes and you know i mean so you have to be able
to laugh at yourself and find some humor in life because if you take it too seriously discovery
you're just going to give yourself a heart attack
as so but the fun thing about stereotypes as well it's fun to prove people wrong
it's fun to see them squirm
and have to eat their own words
and so rather than getting all bent up about it okay fine well you can go over to
that
section of people in my life that say I can't do it and I'll go over here and prove you wrong
like I have a nasty habit of doing
and you know and that just goes to my story of the
college professor who tried to cite me for plagiarism 'cause he didn't think an athlete could
write such good paper rather than getting offended about it I just figured out a way to prove it to him
and he ate his words so
it's it's fun that was a great story in the book
alright your in high school now
and your parents and your sisters and brothers they're all supporting you they're
getting up
they're running you to and from the gym
i don't know how many times a day but you say they're all in line to help
you chase your dream
so the question that i have for you lance is when you're in high school
playing basketball excelling what is your dream at this point
i would like to look back and say oh yeah i had
I knew I was going to be an NBA player
i know i don't know if I can be honest about that
but i mean but then the counter to that who doesn't step into an empty basketball
gym
and with a ball in their hand when no one's watching
countdown three two one
you know buzzer beater shot that won the NBA title I mean who doesn't do that
when he gave the team days off
I'd still ask coach rupp if we could work out the next morning by ourselves
i knew it would be hard and painful as he pushed me to the limit
and many times past it
to the point where I'd vomit right onto the hard wood
but i loved it
i loved the pain and discomfort
I loved the sense of accomplished I felt once it was all over
I loved to sit by myself there in the bleachers of the empty
and be lost in stalled thought my mind and body too tired to think
it was my high
a natural high
those mornings were the purist form of basketball I ever knew just me rupp and a ball
no money
no boosters no politics
it was the pure love and innocence of the game
when it was still a game for me
we both worked and sweated our shoes squeaking and echoing out the gym and down the empty hallways
I'd pay to have those moments again
those moments of hard work and sacrifice
when I knew not what to expect as far as what my future held
with no sense of entitlement no reward or motive in sight other
than just the pure love of the game
i had no idea if i was ever going to be good enough to play college ball
we were challengers of the unknown
you continue to write in your book that high school is a difficult time
even if you're not quote a freakish giant even if you're not deaf
but you continue to play and you excel
and college offers start to come in
but they don't want you to sit on your laurels so to speak so they don't tell
you
that the offer you're most waiting for is there for you
so tell us about
what it's like when you find out that your college dream has arrived
the timing seemed so perfect
my junior as my junior year of high school ended
the university of utah also went to the national champion game and lost to kentucky
and it was only four blocks away from my parent's house the university of utah
and I was very much a hometown kid
and i loved that place I loved the community that had supported me
and so it was very important that I remained there
and so
I'd very much wanted to be a part of that
and so here I was receiving offers from
kansas
stanford
purdue and
I'm passing those all up just to
i'm not passing them up but
i'm receiving them but i'm not really appreciating them because i'm wondering
why isn't the university of utah I'm only four blocks away from
why havne't they offered me a scholarship yet
and so it was very perplexing to me but what i found that
the university of utah had actually offered me a scholarship well before
anyone ever did
but coach rupp
never told me at the time
and it's funny I understand why he didn't tell me but he should have known me well enough by that time to know I'm not the
type of person that's gonna be satisfied
because i'm the type you know
our accomplishments are quickly lost in the achievement of new goals
or the setting of new goals
and so
once you get to one plateau you want to move on to another one
and so
rupp rupp knew that but part of him didn't want to tell me mom a dad actually knew as well but
they didn't
tell me I was just sweating
laboring and going through these camps all across the country and I'd become a top one
hundred recruit
and why haven't I heard anything from the university utah yet and then i go to this personal
little big man camp
at the university of utah and after the camp is over coach majerus calls me into the uh... the
film room
and he sits down with me and coach rupp and says you have a scholarship just like that 0:33:06.110,0:33:08.680 tell us a little bit
about what the program was in utah
from a high school kids perspective or from a college kids while I'm in there
no when you're in there
what are you doing
what is your day to day life to be
on that basketball team
your life is ran to the T
even in the summertime they will call you up
the night before
and say
this is where you need to be
this is your weekly regiment
this is where you have to do
if you don't do it
even you you
will not have a scholarship the next season
and so
it's very much very demanding
every now and then coach majerus would give you a little compliment
and it would
mean the world to you
but here I was I was just a young kid
with now with aspirations of okay if I'm in the top one hundred recruit in high school
maybe i could be an NBA player
and so I see coach majerus getting guys to the n_b_a_ and he's now on the national stage and I'm going okay
this guy is my one chance to get to the NBA
and so you put him on a pedestal
and you hang on every word that he says
and that was my flaw
that was my fault
that was my error
nobody though was working harder than you were
I will never say that i worked harder than everybody else but i will say that no one
worked harder than me no one worked harder than you 0:34:31.499,0:34:32.669 yeah yeah i know that
i know that for sure and
just because having learned from the work ethic of my father and my mother
um I wasn't going to be
a living walking talking irony
in that at this time as well right when i was going to the university of utah my mom had
graduated as commencement speaker for the university of utah
and this is a lady that had gone back and
gone back to school after she raised all of us kids and so i had these parents with a
tremendous work ethic and so it was just in my nature to
be that way
I definitely am my own worst critic
no one can say anything to me that
i guarantee you i have not already said to myself
that i will beat myself to a bloody pulp
as far as my demands to be the best i can be
and so when you put my type of personality
with a coach like rick majerus who was a brilliant brilliant coach
the man knew what he was doing brilliant mind
but at what point does brilliance cross into insanity
at what point does rational become irrational
you know you can't really define that line
but mixing in his personality with mine was a recipe for disaster on the surface
we looked like a great match because he demanded hard work and effort from his players and on the
surface we were a beautiful combination
but when it got down to the daily
personality
uh flaws of each of us
it it was not good
and but again I take blame for that had I not been so
fragile emotionally as a kid
in that when I started playing basketball I so I didn't want people to
view me as this you know
deaf obsessive-compulsive kid with weird thoughts in his head and
so I'd rather they view me as just a simple jock or an arrogant basketball
player
and so i put up this facade around me to keep people away from me because I was very
insecure in who i was
emotionally as a person
and so when you take that
emotional dynamic
up to the university of utah and you play for a guy like rick majerus
it's gonna fall it's gonna collapse he does such a good job of cracking finding
and manipulating your soft spots he knows how to
get to people's buttons and he knows it and he breaks you down and after he breaks you down it's like
yeah you know you're not any good any more as a basketball player
because I mean you get to the point where you're just afraid to even shoot the ball
or i can tell you how i can support that
last season
coach majerus at the saint louis university
his team set a record low in points scored in a game
i think it was something like the lower twenties
and i can tell you why I know exactly what those kids were feeling
they don't want to shoot the ball
because when you're the one that takes the shot
you're the one that's going to be analyzed
the most in the film session
and so you're so terrified to do anything
and so you're like okay if I'm not any good as a basketball player then what good am I as a person
but you know that was my flaw
and I so when i couldn't hide behind basketball anymore I was so vulnerable
that I actually started to break down
and
had i been
more astute or emotionally intelligent at the time
i could have
maybe better handled it
you know lance you're the worst of all
you use your hearing as an excuse to weasel your way through life
you're a disgrace to cripples
and if I were in a wheelchair and I saw you play basketball I'd shoot myself
business in front of everyone entire this was in front of everyone the entire team the coaches and coach rupp
I said nothing which only made majerus more angry as he could never get a
reaction out of me
but inside it ruined me
here was a man that i had dedicated three years of my life to that I had idolized
that i had sweated and labored to play for since i was sixteen
he had turned against me and betrayed me
had I never met the man or had he meant little to me
i would've laughed ay what he had just said
do you never tell your parents
of
these type of statements of what i will call the abuse that you are
enduring
you write in your book that you even
you really
even considered suicide over quitting why
it wasn't
so much of a suicide like my life sucks no
it was more like
I just wanted the voices inside of my head to go away
i didn't want to have to be stuck with the what ifs or
the little demons inside your head that pick at you
and so it wasn't so much of a
sure i was depressed but it wasn't more like just woe is me there's nothing left
to live for kind of a suicidal
but you know i didn't tell anyone or complain about because you know i didn't want to be that kid
oh mom and dad the bully said this to me you know I didn't wanna sound like that
and plus majerus was also very good he goes oh lance I said that you're gonna go home and cry to your mom now
the special education teacher
so he knew he knew how to do things he knew how to manipulate people so
so in a way he basically challenged me to go tell my mom
and so i wouldn't
and it was ironic because my mom was getting her masters from this very same
institution the university of utah in special education
and there's a common misnomer that i filed a complaint against rick majerus for a
lawsuit I never did
we saw his body language change we saw his self-confidence go down we saw
that he could not hold onto a basketball right 0:39:57.599,0:40:00.970 it'd be passed to him it and it would just go through his hands like butter he couldn't
he he could no longer play basketball so
we're aware tat something's going on no we do not know the degree to which it is
and when he finally tells us of course it's devastating
and he doesn't tell us until he's made the decision that he's
leaving and of course we're never going to be no you need to stick it out no
no we just you're right lance you you go ahead you need to leave
i did write a letter of complaint that's where i think
the
fallacy comes in he
filed
a lawsuit
but he didn't i just wrote a letter of complaint
and asked that it be put in majerus' file
and i sent it to our major fund
provider
um i sent it to the
university president and
the board of regents
so anyway it was it was heard
but nothing was done
and you're both now seriously involved yourselves at the university of utah yes i was um
very much involved in the special education department
part of it uh had been fun
interesting not funny funny but funny interesting that i had given the
um commencement speech
where I talk about lance that he's number forty one playing on the floor of
the huntsman center and dreams do come true
realizing that his dream very quickly turned into a nightmare
i'd just wanted to leave
get out of there but the university of utah itself
filed an invetsigation
basically just to cover their bases to make sure that they weren't liable for a lawsuit
and I knew what they were doing it was a charade it was a farce
and but a lot of people then pinned that on me saying i had
started it but i didn't i just wanted out of there
and you know it i'm very careful in my book when I
tell of the negative things that happened with coach majerus
I make sure
that I can vouch that there's someone else there
someone else can vouch what i say
but as a lawyer i thought you did a great job with that yeah i was very very
yeah but i wasn't going to let it come down to a battle of hearsay that's right
and
you know but i had a fun time with him to I mean the man had a lot of good qualities
but he also had a lot of bad qualities
and you know to paint him in one light as one or the other wouldn't do him justice
in hindsight
we all could have
done things better
but at the end of the day i don't blame majerus for my short comings at the university of utah they're mine and mine alone
but at the same time
i can therefore give him no credit for my future success as well
so it's a fair trade off
you're being kind
but that's consistent with who you are
tell us about your red shirt year and your move over to
weber state
almost every place I go outside of the university outside of utah
calls it weber state
but it's weeber
when i left the university of utah
i was ready to quit basketball
i had gone to the point that i actually hated looking at a basketball just hated it
and i was done
and no
no i was you know
no offers were coming
but except for the very first day I left the university of utah I got a phone call from
weber state
coach joe cravens a wonderful man
had
at one point been an assistant for coach majerus
and the man the two men
could not be more polar opposite
and coach cravens
is one of the most christian men i've ever known
he was a great guy
and he was the only coach the only division one school to offer me a scholarship only one
and to say I'm not gonna come out and say I was black balled
because i have no proof of it
uh because there's no point in
calling it out
but it ended up for the best because weber state is only
a half hour north of salt lake city
lance I'm not going to play for weber state
and he hung up
and he walked out
and uh I stepped in and
i called kerry rupp on the phone lance's high school coach who was one of the
most incredible people you've ever known and I said kerry
lance just told joe cravens
he's not going to take it and he says
I'll call him
and he hung up and sure enough so coach kerry rupp called lance up and rupp was that
kind of person who could get in his face
and i didn't feel i had the right as a father to tell him that he had to
because i hadn't paid the price in basketball that was not my
my forte
and but kerry rupp could
and I think that that's another rule or the parents need to learn is
is there are times when we as parents don't have cashe in particular areas and to
be humble enough to reach out to those people who do have that influence and fortunately
our children have been surrounded by a lot of people like that to whom we have been
able to call as i did to coach rupp
coach rupp can you please do this and he did he made that phone call
and joe cravens was just a miracle worker in lance's life
for awhile i thought oh i need to get completely to the other side of the country to get away from
rick majerus but you realize
proximity has nothing to do with it
it's about
drawing your own emotional boundaries with your self and
he could have been
five hundred miles away or twenty miles away and i still would have been going through the
same issues
you have to face them ultimately you
played against
utah
how did that go
it went really well actually
my junior year after my red shirt year we were state
I played against utah and I played very well
because usually the players that leave utah's program
end up being nothing and they
uh huh and that's usually true
and so everyone's like huh
interesting what's going on here and so they're around that time
uh ironically
the same reporter that had
gotten me in trouble actually at utah totally against any doing of mine
was able to break the story on what happened
at weber state
and shortly after that came out ten days after the article came out
majerus resigned due to health reasons
uh a bad heart and
caught a plane to santa barbara
if someone's going to have heart surgery i don't think they'd catch a plane to santa
barbara
but at that point though i was happy at weber and so I
had actually almost moved on
I was I had a new life up there I was playing well I enjoyed my team I loved my coach
and i was finally battling a lot of the OCD stuff in that coach cravens
had really helped me
to come to terms with it
he was one of people that really encouraged me to go on medication
and I'll never forget that when he told me that
you know lance you having to take medication for OCD to me is no different than
your teammate brad having to take insulin for his diabetes
and he's right he's right
but at the time
i couldn't view it that way because i mean
you know the biggest weakness of all
is the ability
the inability to admit that you have a problem right
it usually takes a stronger person to really
step forth and ask for help
you know as
I'm a montana kid born in montana so i love the river runs through it norman maclean that's the story
of my life and my brother
and you know it the question is asked in there why is it the people that need the most help are the ones
who don't ask for it
and I was kind of in that boat for a long time
and coach cravens really helped me
get across that point
and you know the trick is you know medication doesn't fix the problem
it just slows the brain down so you're actually able to go through and try to rewire your
brain
and develop better thought patterns
and the thing is a lot of people don't want to go that far
they don't really want to have to really truly internalize and analyze themselves and their true motives
in life and where they could
do better
they don't want to have truly take accountability for all of their actions
but i said if i want to truly get over my OCD or at least
learn to coral it or harnesses it
i'm gonna except full accountability for my short comings
i'm not gonna hide behind my OCD and say oh I was just having a rough day or
what not
at this time in your life a new puppy comes into your world tell us about that
uh... mac macmurrin is actually his full name is my scottish family ancestral name he's my
scotty dog my scottish terrier
oh I love him to death
he's uh I actually found him from a breeder in missouri and I drove all the way over to
missouri to pick him up
and uh... i loved him
i got to pick him out of the litter right from the box I got the first pick and I knew he
was my guy
and uh... oh he's a spunky little thing people
people tend to think scotty dogs are grandma dogs lap dogs
they're not
they were bred in scotland to be badger hunters
and they're pretty thick and if you ever picked up mac he's a solid solid thirty
two pounds
and he's a smaller dog but he's all muscle
and so he's a he's a spunky little guy
and um... he's very much different
from szen alright now
take us to the n_b_a_
summer camps and tell us what's going on with lance after graduating
from weber state
for most of my senior year I led the nation in rebounding
and once the season was over and the post season came it just kinda happened that
i didn't get as many games and I lost the rebounding title
and so it was important to me to really have that rebounding title coming
from a small school
and a small conference
and i lost it behind two guys who are now currently in the n_b_a_
with some very nice contracts
and um
and that's tough
because you then see most of it is timing
um you learn
from my first NBA experience in the summer league
you can be just as good
or better than the next player
but so much of it is timing so much of life is timing lance exactly exactly and
we can't control that we can't
you may be better than this player but
are you what the team needs at the time to fit the bill
but then also what his talent
it's all in the eye of the beholder
and um you and i could be watching a player right now
and you could say he's garbage
and i could say oh he
oh he's
a true diamond in the rough
he's going to be an all-star
i mean it's all completely up to personal opinion and whim
and so at that point i mean
it's like trying to break into hollywood really
i mean what producer's gonna give you the money
it really is
and so it it was tough it was heartbreaking for um me to go to through the n_b_a_ draft process
and here i was
a proven player
eighteen and twelve
eighteen points twelve rebounds a game my senior year
in college
and
you sit there and you realize that you're not even on anyone's radar
because it's almost like kids at christmas in that
one g_m_ doesn't want you until another g_m_ wants you
if they don't want you
they're safe to overlook you because you'll nevr be given the chance to shine
and make them look bad for passing over you yeah so therefore they don't have
to answer to an owner for that
and so it's it becomes very much a game of
um boys with toys i guess
and becomes very political and you realize it's a business
it's not
it's not all about basketball it's not fun and games it is
the entertainment
business
down to the core
in europe
it's a little more lively and so i mean
we'll see what happens there and but
when i did summer camp with the clippers i mean i did everything I could with what they gave me but
it's just
you know fighting the powers that be i mean
you could have
played the most brilliant game of all time but
they pretty much have already made up their minds before camp has even started
who's gonna play
and who's going to get the recognition and attention
and
you know I enjoyed the time they gave me i learned a lot
and but they basically said you know this isn't your home
and so i had to go over that year to
start out in turkey my professional year my first
year as a professional as a rookie
I signed a pretty good contract as a rookie in turkey
but uh...
turks don't pay
I hate to generalize like that but uh that's basically
that was the
the stereotype they had before i went
and the stereotype they still
have long after i've left
and you know just because you sign a contract
in turkey
for this amount of money
doesn't really mean anything that only means that's most they're going to pay you
you know it
it was it was a tough go
and plus also because turkey doesn't have a player union
and when you're not a citizen of that country
what are you gonna do right
and so
i remember i was there for six weeks and they hadn't paid me
and so i finally knocked on their door and uh... I'm sorry
i finally went and said to them hey if you don't pay me I'm not playing in the game tomorrow
and they came and knocked on my door
and they said okay lance we're taking you to the airport
what am i gonna do
and so
it's it's important that people know
that basketball
it's not all glitz and glamour and fun
the media focuses on so much of the longevity players with these huge contracts
that people get this
conception that
it's all glitz and glamour it's not
let me I want the audience lance to know who you really are
your first contract was twenty thousand dollars
or the first serial payment mm hmm of the ninety thousand dollar contract
was twenty thousand dollars what did you do with that money
i took a loan out against it and gave it
to mom and dad so
they could pay off some of their debts and help my sister pay for her wedding
wow you know i would like to think anyone else would have done the same thing
had they had parents like mine
and i think that's right i've met your parents
i'll talk to your parents
they seem to be the most wonderful
people they are
but i must say
they couldn't have a finer son
uh…yeah thank you
kenny maybe in the introduction to your book writes that the
average fan has totally lost perspective on what it takes
to make it to the n_b_a_
i have a different question lance
what if you hadn't made it
would I have gotten to the point where i am where I'm at now
in that sure i was called up
and cleveland gave me
signed me for the rest of the season
but was I really given an opportunity
while i was there not really
but was I finally able to say I got there
yeah but seeing what i saw in cleveland
help me gain perspective that again
it's just a business so much of it is about timing
and at the end of the day
the only person that's gonna validate me is me
and that is without doubt
the toughest lesson i've ever had to learn in life
because so many people
need other people to validate them to acknowledge the price and cost that they
have paid in life to get where they are at what they have done
but that usually the people that you most want to validate you
are the ones that will never validate you that never do it exactly
in february my twenty sixth birthday approached and the family gathered in boise to meet up
and see a game of mine
I played for one minute getting two rebounds
and then having done nothing wrong I was subbbed out
I looked up and saw my family in the stands
there I was turning twenty six
in debt with nothing to show for myself
sitting on the bench in the D-league making twelve thousand dollars a
year
I couldn't even look at them from across the arena
the rest of my siblings were carving their way through the world doing their best to
make themselves a life while i was chasing a pipe dream
before the game was even over I snuck off to the locker room and began to violently vomit blood
that night the family gathered at the hotel
where they all gave me gifts
I've never been a fan of birthdays
i think that on my birthday if anyone should be giving gifts to say thank you
it should be me
I couldn't look my siblings in the eye as I opened their gifts
they knew i was in pain
they knew it was difficult for me to accept their generosity when i had nothing to
give them
I still owed them money
yet here they were giving me more
that night as I lay in bed my stomach churning eating at my insides I came to the
conclusion that i was living in a fantasy
and it was time to grow up
do you know that he's gonna make it of course
well that he's gonna make it no
it was at that moment
here there we all are all of his brothers and sisters and all of the spouses
mom and dad
and we saw how hard he worked for so long and none of his dreams had come true they'd all turned into
disappointment and nightmares and uh
and all we could give him was love just that continual unconditional love and uh my
father stole every dream i ever had
and tana's mom always so wonderfully supportive to her and to me
so i had that example of a parent who stole all of my dreams and a parent who supported us so
and all we could give him was love and tell him lance
you know whatever you do
whatever you choose
wherever you go
we're all here for you always
i read your book cover to cover
and i never got up until it was over I couldn't I couldn't put it down
so what's next for you
you like to be able to plan it
but in my life
the world of basketball it's it's capricious it changes every day
you don't know what's going to happen
and so sometimes you just kind of have to
take it graciously
but hopefully within
the next few weeks i will be signing a good contract in italy and they have a
player union there which is good
and so therefore i know
i will be secure
but
i'm about to finish up my second book
a historical fiction about a teutonic knight uh
in the fourteenth century yes
I'm a nerd but just just read it
you know I take a lot of pride in being able to write my own memoirs because a
lot of times you see biographies
and you see that little name underneath the main name
which is their ghost writer
and I kinda like huh because it's pretty difficult
to sit with someone you don't really know
and be brutally honest and tell
all about your shortcomings as well as your good things
because you don't want them to dislike you
and so therefore you usually don't get
all of the angles
but when you're sitting there with a piece of paper and there's no one else in the room
it's a lot easier
to analyze yourself
and be honest about yourself
and so that was what was important to me to go back within the stories objective
and analyze my life and make fun of myself and everyone around me and have a good time doing it
after our interview with lance he met with his agent and he signed a contract to
play in italy
on the NSB napoli basketball team we wish him the very best
you can keep track of lance on eurobasket.com
thanks for joining us until next time you be inspired and you be well