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LeBron’s former teammate sees two sides of the man

Jul 12, 2011, 4:05 PM EDT

lance_allred Getty Images

Lance Allred is one of the more interesting guys in the NBA — legally deaf (and a very good lip reader), raised Mormon, in his youth part of a polygamous sect (that he and his family have renounced) and one of those people who has been in the NBA but comes with a broader perspective than most.

Plus, he’s a published author. Now twice over.

His second book is Basketball Gods and it is his personal journey. Some of that is NBA (and D-League and Summer League), some of that is how his travels through the game changed him as a religious person, how his deafness provides a different view of the league. His insights are fascinating.

That includes some interesting insights on LeBron James — Allred was a teammate with him in Cleveland, a backup center in 2007-08. Allred did a Q&A with USA Today and when asked about LeBron he gave a thoughtful answer. One shaded in grays rather than the black and white often used.

As with every human, LeBron has many good qualities as well as qualities that could use some work. But as a teammate, there were many times when I first arrived at Cleveland that LeBron went out of his way with small, simple gestures to help me feel welcome, when he did not need to. But he did anyway. But then there were days where he was simply having a bad day, like all of us do.

At times, the PR machine around LeBron does not best represent him as a person. Maybe as a celebrity, but not as a person. He has many good qualities that maybe are not shown to the world, as some may fear it is less than cool or masculine, that it does not feed into his superhuman persona. Often times when I see or hear some of the drama around LeBron, I think I could really help him as far as PR goes, that I would be able to give some good insight. And I wouldn’t cost very much, maybe 10 dollars or so. But, if Bron wanted my input I think he would have already asked for it a long time ago.

In this current phase of our American economy, people are looking for targets to be angry at. They can’t be angry at the faceless people on Wall Street. But they can be angry at the LeBron, because he is visible and somewhat accessible in the character that he plays every night on the court. Thus, people are able to turn on the TV and project their fear and anger on to him, and he is okay with doing it, because that is only a character he is playing. When the lights turn off and we go home, we are often far different people than the athletes you see on the court.

  1. trbowman - Jul 12, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    I love mormons.

    • andr00e - Jul 12, 2011 at 5:58 PM

      you love morons?

  2. ac0117 - Jul 12, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Thanks for sharing Lance. Good to get perspective from the other side as opposed to this supervillian persona Lebron and the heatles have taken on

  3. metalhead65 - Jul 12, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    so Kurt do you get discounts on your lebron memorabilia for all the free pr work you do for him? people can be angry at lebron for the way he conducts himself and nothing more. if you are going to behave like a classless clown the be prepared for the fallout. you want to hold press conference parties celebrating things you have not won yet then be prepared for the fallout. again nobody outside of cleveland held it against him for leaving,it was the way he went about it and the excuses he made for it,and of coarse the multiple title promises. he may still win some but most people will always root against him at least I will.

    • cordae - Jul 12, 2011 at 5:33 PM

      So your rebuttal was towards Kurt, but Lance was the one providing his point of view. You went out of your way to let the world know that you will waste your energy for the rest of your life hating some guy, all because his deaf moromon ex teammate says he’s human? And that people only hate him beccause he’s tangible?

      Sums his point all up.

      • metalhead65 - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:28 AM

        my rebuttal was to Kurt because he never misses a chance to mention and praise lebron and write anything favorable he can about him. as for his former team mate all that he had to say was that he was human which the last time I checked nobody was saying otherwise. that does not change the fact that to me and the general public he comes off as a classless jerk who thinks the world revolves around him. I am not wasting energy or my life because I am not a fan. I actually rooted for the guy while he was with the cavs because he did live up to all his hype before he came into the league. that all changed with the way he conducted himself with his decsion and the words and actions after. he comes across as the world revolves around me kind of guy now.as far as the heat go he and the excuse makers can claim that being runner up was a great season but when you claim you will win multiple titles and come up short then sorry it is a fail. that along with after those 3 signed they acted like that was all it would take to be champs. so while I will never root for him does not mean I will waste my time on hating him. just means I won’t be rooting for him to win no matter what Kurt and the rest of his fans think.

      • savvybynature - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:42 AM

        He said he would root against him, not hate him. Big difference. As sports fans we all root for and against certain teams and players, not a big deal.
        And he said he will root against him b/c of the hour long special where he split from Cleveland weeks into FA on prime-time television, because he announced they would win 7 championships before they played a single game together, and because he said it would “be easy.” Not because “his deaf moromon ex teammate says he’s human.” And btw, ex teammate would suffice. His deafness is not really relevant to what he said, and I’m not sure if “moromon” was meant to be an insult but if so it’s a classless and bigoted one.
        Read the comment before you reply to it.

      • cordae - Jul 13, 2011 at 4:33 PM

        His two entire paragraphs = wasted energy. He unleashed every reason why he disliked him, when it wasnt necessary. He is very entitled to his own opinion, but bashing someone just because the article isn’t? Right. I didnt say that was the reason he said what he said, I said he wasted his breath because someone else gave his opinion of him that wasn’t NEGATIVE. And that statement was FAR from an insult. So you fell victim of what you’re accusing me of, which is not reading a statement carefully. I’m finished though, keep defending your girlfriend if you want.

  4. andr00e - Jul 12, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    Nice choice of words by Lance about Lebron, but it’s simply not true. Lebron’s personality shares similar traits to his style of play on the court. He is gifted most of the time but chokes when it comes to his clutch moments because he is too feeble to relax and understand how to seize the moment.

    • southbeachtalent - Jul 13, 2011 at 10:42 AM

      So you know more about LeBron’s personality than an actual teammate, you know someone who really knows him. Yea that makes perfect sense. Your comment makes zero sense..

      • handy678 - Jul 13, 2011 at 3:03 PM

        Obv. a heatle.

  5. andr00e - Jul 12, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Lebron can avoid the lockout by sporting a long-haired wig and enlisting into the WNBA-he already has the face.

  6. tashkalucy - Jul 12, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    I think people are “angry” at Lebron because he disrespects the game and the fans unless he has something he wants to sell them.

    Furthermore, he goes out of his way to make sure the NBA revolves around him, and is envious and disrespectful to those that chart their own path (see Dirk – cough, cough).

    He ignores coaches if they try to get him to do something he doesn’t want to do, such as post up, which coaches have been trying to get him to do for the past 5 years. Something that all other players in the NBA that play his position do at least some of. He used his buddy Maverick Carter to leak information earlier this year to the national media that none of the Heat liked or respected their coach, something not true at all and done to try to get the coach fired.

    He sounded like a broken record for years telling the press that he was “all about winning and championships.” He quit on his Cleveland teammates 2 years in a row then the going got tough in the playoffs, and then walked out on them — complaining about his teammates and going to Miami to join 2 all-star buddies that won less games the the Cavs had the previous 2 years and with all that talent got a round or two further in the playoffs. He strutted and posed with a Heat jersey on talking about at least 7 championships before they even had a practice, showing every other team in the NBA no respect at all. Yet when it got down to the 4th quarter in this years finals he stood around, not harassing anyone on D, not putting a body on opponents to rebound, not setting even one pick to get a teammate open. Then he sat at a press conference and insulted people like me that were sick of hearing his never-ending bragging that he couldn’t back up yet again.

    If Lebron James would simply go away, that would be fine. But he won’t. More than any other player he is responsible for the NBA turning into the WWF.

    Sports leagues have been strong for centuries. Entertainment vehicles can bring in casual customers and be the talk of the country for periods of time. But sooner or later people tire of seeing the same song-and-dance and find something else that tickles their fancy. The Lebron James circus pumped the NBA ratings this year. But when people get sick of it then he’ll go the way of Reggie Jackson and Brett Favre – the two people he has patterned himself after. MLB only was able to survive by building new fan-friendly parks that look like shopping malls, and that’s wearing out. The league is a joke with the Yankees and Red Sox getting the cream of free agents and high priced players up for trade every off season for 30 years now. The NFL is fine because the game was always bigger than Favre, even though ESPN doesn’t think so.

    But the NBA? Along with many of my friends I’ve been a diehard NBA fan for over 50 years. But these smoke machines and ESPN replays of slam dunks by tall people that palm the ball and throw it down into the basket without even having to jump is hardly my idea of athletics. The owners better make this a sports league again else it’s popularity will go the way of the WWF.

  7. jonka - Jul 12, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    kurt your not tapping lebron nor will he ever take you on a date
    give up already!

  8. urodaddy07 - Jul 12, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    I am nota fan of what Lebron did and honetly think it was a terrible way to leave his team. I do think the Lebron bashing is extreme and has gone too far in some instances. Respect Lances point of view, and do not doubt hat Lebron has good qualities as a person. I am not sure I buy that the problem is bad PR. The problem was a bad “Decision” which many people have interpreted, rightly or wrongly (but definitely with some justification) as lack of personal integrity and overly inflated opinion of himself. I for one think the guy deserves to be cut some slack, but also acknowledge that he made hs own bed.

  9. thetooloftools - Jul 13, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    LeBron and Bosh walking on MAX deals is KILLING the players !
    “That PR machine” of which he speaks is his God.

  10. nicosamuelson2 - Jul 13, 2011 at 8:51 AM

    “metalhead” ain’t the quickest of cats in the best of times…

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