Filthy Sign Language Lessons With Rick Majerus

Rick Majerus: good-natured goofball or basketball tyrant? Despite the image he tries to project (and his resemblance to the Dad from “Just the Ten of Us,” it’s becoming abundantly clear that the only thing the former Utah and current St. Louis coach loves more than a free buffet is making his players’ lives miserable. At St. Louis, he’s managed to set the bar so low for his team before the season that they’ve tripped over it and later said his team had no chance to win the conference tournament.

Lance Allreds new book and Rick Majerus

But that’s nothing compared to his exploits at Utah, where according to an earlier SPORTS ILLUSTRATED piece he had a thing about being naked and showing off his … ahem … Running Ute. Somewhat lost in the hubbub and mass vomit that took place thanks to the mental images created of a sweaty, naked Rick Majerus naked in a steamroom was his treatment of certain players, including center Lance Allred, who has 80 percent hearing loss. Majerus might have been cleared of any wrongdoing in a school investigation, but a new book by Allred reviewed by CLEVELAND SCENE sheds more light onto his claims.

In the book, called  “Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA,” Allred repeats his claim that Majerus told him that he was “a disgrace to cripples” and that if he was “a cripple in a wheelchair and saw you play basketball, I’d shoot myself.” But Allred also goes on to note that if Majerus might have been incredibly insensitive, he also at least took the time to learn sign language. Even if the application was somewhat dubious.

Rick Majerus made Allred’s life absolute hell. There’s a great anecdote in the book regarding Majerus. He had a habit of calling Lance “[nasty word for a female body part beginning with “c”] extraordinaire,” and despite the fact that Lance had hearing aids, Majerus would sometimes spell out “[same nasty word] with his fingers to make sure there was “no miscommunication.”

See: how many coaches would take the time to learn sign language just so he could communicate with one player. Allred eventually tranferred to Weber State to finish his career. He later had a cup of coffee with the Cleveland Cavaliers while mainly spending time between the D-League and Europe, including one experience with a Turkish team that didn’t pay him that ended with “shady characters chasing the 6-foot-11 blond American through the streets of Istanbul.

As the title suggests, there’s more to Allred’s story than his basketball career: his grandfather was the leader of a polygamous Mormon sect in Montana where he was raised before his mother broke free and moved the family to Utah. And he’s not just writing about himself - he’s also working on a book about 14th century European history. And one more interesting note:


Sorry, I couldn’t resist.