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Born hearing impaired and raised in a polygamous commune, Lance Allred started playing organized basketball later than most future pro-athletes; he was in the eighth grade the first time he touched a basketball, the same year he and his family left the sect that had defined every detail of their lives. Throughout high school, people told him that he didn't have what it took to be a professional basketball player, but - as Allred likes to point out - luckily, he couldn't hear them. Thanks to extensive hard work and grit, Allred defied the odds to become the first legally deaf basketball player in the history of the NBA.

Dealing with his disability, OCD, and adjusting to life outside the commune where he'd grown up, Allred started playing basketball after receiving an invitation from his middle school coach, who had easily noticed the 6'4" tall boy in the halls. (Today he's 6'11".) Basketball quickly became his newfound passion, and he went on to play for his high school, the University of Utah, and later Weber State University. His professional basketball career took him around the world and lasted for ten years until he retired to pursue a career as a social entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker.

Allred's speaking career quickly took off due to his remarkable life story and ability to relate the lessons he's learned to a universal audience. His TEDx talk "What is Your Polygamy?" was viewed over 1 million times in less than two months, making it one of the most watched talks in the history of TEDx events.

He is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA. His second book Basketball Gods: The Transformation of the Enlightened Jock has topped three Amazon Best-seller lists.

Full Profile

Leadership. Perseverance. Grit.

Why Lance?

To inspire a culture of courage and grit in your company or school.

Perseverance: How to pick yourself up every time you get knocked down.

Leadership: How to be a leader of your own life so you can lead others in turn.

Comfort Zones: How to find the success which is just beyond your comfort zone.

With his TEDx smash hit, “What is your Polygamy?” gaining a million views in less than 2 months, Lance Allred, with his 5 Principles of Perseverance, is the first legally deaf player in NBA history.  Known as “The Lion” he is a Best-Selling Author of Basketball Gods and Longshot and is an expert on Leadership, Perseverance and Grit.

Standing at 6’11”, and born with 80% hearing loss within a polygamist commune before he escaped when he was 13, Lance has had people all of his life placing limitations on him, but he never listened: he couldn’t hear very well anyway. With a world of stories and setbacks, Lance will take you and your audience on the inspiring story of his indomitable spirit and how eventually, through his own Will and Choice, went on to become the first deaf player in NBA history.

Lance Allred ON Speaking Back to top


Under those concepts is a common thread: a story of self-worth and the journey I took, trying to find love, feeling that I didn’t deserve it, and discovering how I was the only one who could do that for me...

SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn/take away from your presentations?

ALLRED: Leadership, perseverance and grit are the main three keys I want people to take from my presentations. While I want people to take away the Principles of Perseverance or the Truths of a Lethal Team, I also want them to go deeper. Under those concepts is a common thread: a story of self-worth and the journey I took, trying to find love, feeling that I didn’t deserve it, and discovering how I was the only one who could do that for me - not some NBA contract, or a marriage, but me.

SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How do you prepare for your speaking engagements?

ALLRED: I love to customize as much as I can, and learn about the pain points of every one of my clients. I have so many stories of basketball from playing around the world, that I can usually find any story in my experiences, to draw parallels with the pain points of any company.

The power of the sports metaphor is lasting. People understand sports metaphors, so I am fortunate in that I have trunks full of memories and stories, but more importantly, I have the gift and knack of being able to relate them and help people learn about themselves. It is not my job to make people learn about me, but rather, to help them learn about themselves.

SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?

ALLRED: Just tonight, I spoke at an alternative prison reform program, and the impact, hugs, and “thank you’s” I received from these people who have taken hard paths, was very empowering for me. It was the perfect Christmas gift to know that not only can I impact executives at Fortune 100 meetings, I can make a difference in the lives of hardened criminals, trying to give themselves another shot.

The essence of leadership is perseverance. The essence of perseverance is grit. The essence of grit is choice. Do you choose to get back up, one more time, every time?

SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

ALLRED: I think everyone benefits from my message. My TEDx Talk, is applicable to anyone.

My stories and experiences, as eclectic as they are, via polygamy, hearing loss, basketball, adversity, allow me to connect with any audience.

My story is everyone’s story. Granted, we can’t all be 6’11, or deaf, but people connect with my setbacks and message. The essence of leadership is perseverance. The essence of perseverance is grit. The essence of grit is choice. Do you choose to get back up, one more time, every time?

SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?

ALLRED: The Principles of Perseverance are always my favorite, because I get to show these twists and turns of my very different life, and empower people along the way to choose to be leaders of their own lives. What a blessing it is, that I get to look back on my hardships and setbacks, and say, “Aha, that is what that experience was for…to help someone else.” When you act from a place of giving, rather than trying to sell or take, you cannot fail.

I could have cut off my nose to spite my face and said, “To heck with this, I am going to law school,” but instead, I chose to develop public speaking skills and radio and television interview techniques.

SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?

ALLRED: Funny enough, I started public speaking when I was in the minor league of the NBA making $900 dollars a month, because that was part of my job detail. I wasn’t deemed “good enough” to play, as I was the last guy at the end of the bench, so I had to be the media guy. I could have cut off my nose to spite my face and said, “To heck with this, I am going to law school,” but instead, I chose to develop public speaking skills and radio and television interview techniques. I was being pigeonholed into that role at the time, but the skills I gained are enabling me years later to make more money than I ever did as a basketball player.

During my book tour with HarperCollins in 2009, I realized I was good at speaking - not just speaking to kids at schools, but also to adults, and I developed a real passion for it. With that experience I knew I would be able to phase into it, with tons of hard work once I was ready to retire from basketball, knowing that as far as deaf, polygamist kids making the NBA, I sort of had that market cornered. ;)


Lance Allred Speaker Videos Back to top

Lance Allred, Professional Basketball Player: TEDx


Lance Allred spotlights how each one of us has our own "polygamy:" thought patterns and limits that we were socially conditioned to accept as normal yet hold us back from taking risks, broadening our self-awareness, and building bridges between ourselves and those who hold different views. For Allred, who was raised in a polygamous commune, many practices and perspectives that may seem outlandish to the average American were simply reality for him, his family, and fellow community members.

While he physically cut ties with the sect at age 13, Allred claims that mentally and emotionally breaking free of it was a much more drawn out and complicated process. He points out that at its core, his situation and journey are not unique. "What is your polygamy?" he asks us. "What are the black and white absolutes that you hold onto that allow you to believe that you have the Truth? That you're right?"

Lance Allred, Professional Basketball Player: The Power of Failure


Lance Allred, Professional Basketball Player: Accountability


Lance Allred, Professional Basketball Player: Microsoft Speech Excerpt



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Lance Allred's unusual life forced him to live outside his comfort zone. Born hearing impaired and raised in a polygamous sect until the age of 13, the former NBA star gained unique perspectives on leadership, teamwork, and self-awareness. Now an endearing and mesmerizing speaker, he uses his remarkable experiences to help corporate, non-profit, and student audiences identify the boundaries of their comfort zones, push out of them, and keep reaching for something better.

LIONS AND LEADERS: The Principles of Perseverance
Lance's smash hit keynote on leadership, perseverance and grit, where Lance will show, with his 5 Principles of Perseverance, how he achieved what many perceived to be an unattainable goal: The First Deaf Player in NBA History.

He is now duplicating those same principles on a daily basis to conquer his next "unattainable goal." When you hear his story, you will understand how among his peers in the basketball world, Lance became known as "The Lion." 

The 5 Principles of Perseverance:
1. Accountability
2. Integrity
3. Compassion
4. Discomfort
5. Be Leader of Your Own Life

(Corporate/Business, Leadership Summits, Non Profits, University Commencement)

Legendary Sales
If Lance, the quiet, deaf underdog from rural Montana, could push himself out of his comfort zone, day in and day out, what is your excuse not to?

Lance will challenge and train your sales team to detach their self-worth from outcomes, empowering them to be more daring, gritty, creative and resilient, knowing that if they function from a place of integrity, they can never fail. 

Along with Lance’s inspiring stories, he also presents interactive content and group/team challenges to help people get out of their comfort zones, that he learned as a team captain of most of his teams from his many years of basketball around the globe.

(Corporate/Sales)

Lethal Teams
The concept of Team, implies sacrifice, but Lance saw at an early age, within a socialist utopian society, why the altruistic idea of team has only a small chance of ever being truly achieved. He learned how to apply that early experience and use it in his basketball career, to find a true successful win-win environment within his teams across the globe.

Divulging his “5 Truths of a Team,” Lance will share his experiences and bring new ways of thinking and ideas to help you and your team find the most successful balance. Your team will be Lethal.

5 Truths of Team:

1. Accountability
2. Confidence/Humility
3. Vulnerability
4. Selflessness
5. Gratitude
(Athletics, Corporate, Administrators, any team format really…)

Leg Up
This presentation is specifically targeted to high school student-athletes, their parents, coaches and athletic directors. For the college bound athlete, the future looks bright and their path paved with promise. Yet, there are many aspects to that collegiate and professional dream that many players, parents and coaches are just not aware of. With a world of experience through the political and business side of sports, both collegiately and professionally, Lance will take your student-athlete through the pitfalls and angles to which they need to enter with eyes wide open, for dreams can quickly turn into nightmares.

Highly informative, honest and blunt, yet inspiring, Lance will give you the wisdom and knowledge that he wishes he would have been informed with in his teenage years. All athletes, those with the intention to play collegiately or not, and their parents, are strongly encouraged to attend this invaluable session.

(Students, student-athletes, parents, teachers and administrators.)

Little Giant
Due to his size and hearing loss, Lance was a Giant target of intense bullying throughout his childhood to such extremes that he frequently struggled with crippling depression.  He has shared his story and impacted hundreds of kids throughout his home state of Utah, letting them know how to overcome and rise above such adversity, and to importantly proactively combat it. 

(Very similar to Lions and Leaders keynote, just more emphasis on bullying and self-worth.)

(Schools, kids, teachers, parents.)

10%
Lance’s father was an educator, who told Lance that the only difference between a “B+” grade and an “A” grade was just “10% more - not 10% more of his time, but rather 10% more of his heart and his passion. This truth allowed Lance to excel as a student and an athlete, as he was an Academic All-American in college.

Lance now carries this message back to administrators and teachers, encouraging them, in turn, to give just “10% more.” Not more of their time, but 10% more of their heart and their passion, so they do not fall into curriculum burnout and simply just want to churn kids through the system. Lance was a “David,” with his hearing and speech as a child, and so he remembers fondly the teachers that gave just a little more of their heart, “10%,” knowing Lance was an outlier and needed a different approach. Lance will inspire your educators to find that extra “10%” within them.

(Schools, Universities, Academics, Administrators)

Growing up in Polygamy
This is an Academic Focused Lecture style presentation for University settings such as Religion/Theology and Social Work/Sciences, helping people understand the mentality and psychology of the world of polygamy. Lance gets everyone outside of black and white thinking and helps the audience to not only understand the history of polygamy and Mormonism but also the wide array and spectrum of personalities within polygamy and how those various polygamist groups are as vastly different from one another as Catholicism is from Protestantism.

Furthermore, how even the individual believers in their various groups, are not as unified nor black and white thinking as we would otherwise believe them to be, with most media coverage only focusing on the extremes.

(University Lecture)

Master of Ceremonies
Lance recently appeared as the MC and Closing Speaker for the AG Bell Association and National Geographic Society, for their fund raising gala. Here is what they had to say: "We received great feedback from the audience regarding Lance, which only affirms the measure of his success in maintaining a captive and engaged audience. His level of professionalism, coupled with his charisma and appeal, radiated confidence and enthusiasm to our audience- keeping the ceremony entertaining for us all."

- A. Mubarak, Event Coordinator, AG Bell

(Non-Profit, Conventions)



Lance Allred Speaker Testimonials Back to top

"Lance is truly an inspiration! Not only is he one of the most authentic individuals I have had the privilege of working with, he offers a unique perspective based on his powerful life experiences."
- Brandon Fugal, Chairman, Coldwell Banker Commercial Advisors

"Lance doesn’t just talk about inspiring leadership, he demonstrates it in the way he connects with his audience. After hearing him speak, I feel more focused on how I can be more authentic in all of my interactions, and how to be guided by the belief that anything truly is possible."
- Lisa Chapman, VP Franchise Leadership, Coca-Cola

"We received great feedback from the audience regarding Lance, which only affirms the measure of his success in maintaining a captive and engaged audience. His level of professionalism, coupled with his charisma and appeal, radiated confidence and enthusiasm to our audience- keeping the ceremony entertaining for us all."
- A. Mubarak, Event Coordinator, AG Bell

“Lance, doesn’t know quit. He can remind you of all the basic skills you have within yourself to achieve whatever it is your heart is calling.”
- David Knoop, Head of Hays Companies

"Lance Allred is a true leader in every sense of the word, has overcome major obstacles, is passionate, and he actually cares in making a difference. His keynote wasn’t rehearsed or forced; He talked about his journey in life and connected with me on a deeper level. I have never experienced this from any keynote speaker before. I believe in Lance 100%."
-Bette Taylor, America First Credit Union

“Lance is an incredibly dynamic speaker, one of the most captivating I’ve been able to hear in recent memory. His unique message of being a “leader of your own life” is absolutely empowering. I’d highly highly recommend Lance as a speaker for all types of audiences, there is something for everyone.”
- Drew Yergensen, Middle Market Manager, KeyBank




Exclusive Interview with Lance Allred

...People put limitations on me. 'I was too deaf to play basketball, let alone college and heaven forbid the NBA,' they would say...I chose not to listen. I couldn’t hear very well anyway.
In this interview, Lance Allred discusses:
  • How he broke free of his polygamist upbringing and became the first deaf player in the NBA.
  • The Principles of Perseverance he used to navigate the extreme setbacks, challenges, and ridicule he faced in his career.
  • How learning to grieve powered his 2016 breakout TEDx Talk, "What is Your Polygamy?"

  • * Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    "Lance is truly an inspiration! Not only is he one of the most authentic individuals I have had the privilege of working with, he offers a unique perspective based on his powerful life experiences."
    - Brandon Fugal, Chairman, Coldwell Banker Commercial Advisors

    "Lance doesn’t just talk about inspiring leadership, he demonstrates it in the way he connects with his audience. After hearing him speak, I feel more focused on how I can be more authentic in all of my interactions, and how to be guided by the belief that anything truly is possible."
    - Lisa Chapman, VP Franchise Leadership, Coca-Cola

    "We received great feedback from the audience regarding Lance, which only affirms the measure of his success in maintaining a captive and engaged audience. His level of professionalism, coupled with his charisma and appeal, radiated confidence and enthusiasm to our audience- keeping the ceremony entertaining for us all."
    - A. Mubarak, Event Coordinator, AG Bell

    “Lance, doesn’t know quit. He can remind you of all the basic skills you have within yourself to achieve whatever it is your heart is calling.”
    - David Knoop, Head of Hays Companies

    "Lance Allred is a true leader in every sense of the word, has overcome major obstacles, is passionate, and he actually cares in making a difference. His keynote wasn’t rehearsed or forced; He talked about his journey in life and connected with me on a deeper level. I have never experienced this from any keynote speaker before. I believe in Lance 100%."
    -Bette Taylor, America First Credit Union

    “Lance is an incredibly dynamic speaker, one of the most captivating I’ve been able to hear in recent memory. His unique message of being a “leader of your own life” is absolutely empowering. I’d highly highly recommend Lance as a speaker for all types of audiences, there is something for everyone.”
    - Drew Yergensen, Middle Market Manager, KeyBank


    Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA
    Lance Allred was probably the last person you'd expect to make it in professional sports. Not only did he grow up on a polygamist commune in Montana, he struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder. If those hurdles to the NBA don't seem large enough, Lance is also deaf.

    Self-deprecating, witty, and wholly original, Longshot is the unlikely story of an unlikely athlete, who despite these factors and a lot of setbacks along the way, finally realized his dream of playing in the NBA, becoming the first legally deaf player in the league.


    Basketball Gods: The Transformation of the Enlightened Jock
    The sequel to the critically acclaimed memoir, Longshot, Lance Allred returns where his story left off, sharing his stories and experiences in the NBA as well as dealing with a major publisher for his first book, as life continues to take him around the world through the game of basketball, challenging his dreams and reality at every turn. Much to his disillusionment, he discovers that reality seldom lives up to our fantasies, especially in these hard financial that has been felt by everyone, even professional athletes.

    Basketball Gods is a book about acceptance, about picking up the pieces as you go along, while providing insight into the supposedly glamorous world of professional sports. It is a story about basketball. And a story about spirituality, as well as forgiveness and acceptance. Most importantly, it is a story about life.

    LIONS AND LEADERS: The Principles of Perseverance
    Lance's smash hit keynote on leadership, perseverance and grit, where Lance will show, with his 5 Principles of Perseverance, how he achieved what many perceived to be an unattainable goal: The First Deaf Player in NBA History.

    He is now duplicating those same principles on a daily basis to conquer his next "unattainable goal." When you hear his story, you will understand how among his peers in the basketball world, Lance became known as "The Lion." 

    The 5 Principles of Perseverance:
    1. Accountability
    2. Integrity
    3. Compassion
    4. Discomfort
    5. Be Leader of Your Own Life

    (Corporate/Business, Leadership Summits, Non Profits, University Commencement)

    Legendary Sales
    If Lance, the quiet, deaf underdog from rural Montana, could push himself out of his comfort zone, day in and day out, what is your excuse not to?

    Lance will challenge and train your sales team to detach their self-worth from outcomes, empowering them to be more daring, gritty, creative and resilient, knowing that if they function from a place of integrity, they can never fail. 

    Along with Lance’s inspiring stories, he also presents interactive content and group/team challenges to help people get out of their comfort zones, that he learned as a team captain of most of his teams from his many years of basketball around the globe.

    (Corporate/Sales)

    Lethal Teams
    The concept of Team, implies sacrifice, but Lance saw at an early age, within a socialist utopian society, why the altruistic idea of team has only a small chance of ever being truly achieved. He learned how to apply that early experience and use it in his basketball career, to find a true successful win-win environment within his teams across the globe.

    Divulging his “5 Truths of a Team,” Lance will share his experiences and bring new ways of thinking and ideas to help you and your team find the most successful balance. Your team will be Lethal.

    5 Truths of Team:

    1. Accountability
    2. Confidence/Humility
    3. Vulnerability
    4. Selflessness
    5. Gratitude
    (Athletics, Corporate, Administrators, any team format really…)

    Leg Up
    This presentation is specifically targeted to high school student-athletes, their parents, coaches and athletic directors. For the college bound athlete, the future looks bright and their path paved with promise. Yet, there are many aspects to that collegiate and professional dream that many players, parents and coaches are just not aware of. With a world of experience through the political and business side of sports, both collegiately and professionally, Lance will take your student-athlete through the pitfalls and angles to which they need to enter with eyes wide open, for dreams can quickly turn into nightmares.

    Highly informative, honest and blunt, yet inspiring, Lance will give you the wisdom and knowledge that he wishes he would have been informed with in his teenage years. All athletes, those with the intention to play collegiately or not, and their parents, are strongly encouraged to attend this invaluable session.

    (Students, student-athletes, parents, teachers and administrators.)

    Little Giant
    Due to his size and hearing loss, Lance was a Giant target of intense bullying throughout his childhood to such extremes that he frequently struggled with crippling depression.  He has shared his story and impacted hundreds of kids throughout his home state of Utah, letting them know how to overcome and rise above such adversity, and to importantly proactively combat it. 

    (Very similar to Lions and Leaders keynote, just more emphasis on bullying and self-worth.)

    (Schools, kids, teachers, parents.)

    10%
    Lance’s father was an educator, who told Lance that the only difference between a “B+” grade and an “A” grade was just “10% more - not 10% more of his time, but rather 10% more of his heart and his passion. This truth allowed Lance to excel as a student and an athlete, as he was an Academic All-American in college.

    Lance now carries this message back to administrators and teachers, encouraging them, in turn, to give just “10% more.” Not more of their time, but 10% more of their heart and their passion, so they do not fall into curriculum burnout and simply just want to churn kids through the system. Lance was a “David,” with his hearing and speech as a child, and so he remembers fondly the teachers that gave just a little more of their heart, “10%,” knowing Lance was an outlier and needed a different approach. Lance will inspire your educators to find that extra “10%” within them.

    (Schools, Universities, Academics, Administrators)

    Growing up in Polygamy
    This is an Academic Focused Lecture style presentation for University settings such as Religion/Theology and Social Work/Sciences, helping people understand the mentality and psychology of the world of polygamy. Lance gets everyone outside of black and white thinking and helps the audience to not only understand the history of polygamy and Mormonism but also the wide array and spectrum of personalities within polygamy and how those various polygamist groups are as vastly different from one another as Catholicism is from Protestantism.

    Furthermore, how even the individual believers in their various groups, are not as unified nor black and white thinking as we would otherwise believe them to be, with most media coverage only focusing on the extremes.

    (University Lecture)

    Master of Ceremonies
    Lance recently appeared as the MC and Closing Speaker for the AG Bell Association and National Geographic Society, for their fund raising gala. Here is what they had to say: "We received great feedback from the audience regarding Lance, which only affirms the measure of his success in maintaining a captive and engaged audience. His level of professionalism, coupled with his charisma and appeal, radiated confidence and enthusiasm to our audience- keeping the ceremony entertaining for us all."

    - A. Mubarak, Event Coordinator, AG Bell

    (Non-Profit, Conventions)


    Lance Allred, Professional Basketball Player: TEDx


    Lance Allred spotlights how each one of us has our own "polygamy:" thought patterns and limits that we were socially conditioned to accept as normal yet hold us back from taking risks, broadening our self-awareness, and building bridges between ourselves and those who hold different views. For Allred, who was raised in a polygamous commune, many practices and perspectives that may seem outlandish to the average American were simply reality for him, his family, and fellow community members.

    While he physically cut ties with the sect at age 13, Allred claims that mentally and emotionally breaking free of it was a much more drawn out and complicated process. He points out that at its core, his situation and journey are not unique. "What is your polygamy?" he asks us. "What are the black and white absolutes that you hold onto that allow you to believe that you have the Truth? That you're right?"

    Lance Allred, Professional Basketball Player: The Power of Failure


    Lance Allred, Professional Basketball Player: Accountability


    Lance Allred, Professional Basketball Player: Microsoft Speech Excerpt



    Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone, with Motivational Speaker Lance Allred

    By Lance Allred

    Born hearing impaired and raised in a polygamous commune, Lance Allred started playing organized basketball later than most future pro-athletes; he was in the eighth grade the first time he touched a basketball, the same year he and his family left the sect that had defined every detail of their lives. Thanks to extensive hard ... more

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