From Publishers Weekly
Allred played basketball with the University of Utah, then Weber State, before eventually joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008, and recounts in folksy, unpretentious prose his long, arduous dream fulfilled to make the NBA. Rendered mostly deaf as an infant, possibly from complications due to his Rh blood incompatibility with his mother, Allred grew up in a fundamentalist polygamist commune in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, founded by his own grandfather who was escaping government persecution for his pluralist beliefs. Infighting among the incestuous group members eventually drove the author's family out, and they settled in Salt Lake City. There the author, who grew to be 6'11", suffering from asthma, and obsessive-compulsive disorder and equipped with hearing aids, began to excel in high school basketball. Recruited on scholarship to Utah, he played three years under the brutally exacting coach, Rick Majerus, only to feel his sense of self slowly extinguished by the coach's abusive practices. Allred's voice is humorously self-deprecating and youthfully winning. Frank about his shortcomings (he had to scrounge for professional gigs in Turkey and elsewhere before hitting a spot in the NBA), he delivers an accessible, competent narrative, with highly unusual details about his Mormon roots. (June)
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Yes, Allred made it to the NBA, for three games in the 2007–08 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. By comparison, Paul Shirley, the original literary basketball gypsy (Can I Keep My Jersey? 2007) played in 18 NBA games over three seasons. Hardly distinguised careers, but there must be something about being tall, introspective, and not quite good enough for the NBA that lends itself to fine writing. Allred, in an ingratiating, self-deprecating style, writes of his Mormon youth in a polygamous community. Remarkably, it was fairly normal by conventional standards. His father had two wives, but one was essentially out of the picture as Allred grew up. He is deaf, though hearing aids help. (One particularly sensitive teacher ascribed his disability to his support for Satan in pre-existence, contending that deafness was a lesser punishment from a merciful God.) Allred was a high-school star, then played at Utah and later in Europe and the NBA’s developmental league before finally enjoying his proverbial cup of coffee with the Cavs. His is a genuinely unlikely story, but he relates it with humor, insight, and compassion. --Wes Lukowsky