Ex-NBA star shares tale of addiction, recovery
Once a standout point guard at Fresno State, Chris Herren saw his National Basketball Association career fall apart due to a drug addiction that would haunt him for much of his adult life. HHerren recently talked to students about his difficult journey and his work to help teens overcome addiction and the temptation of drugs.He said he remembered when he was in high school and his school brought in a guest lecturer to talk about drug addiction to students.
Herren’s first adult experience with drugs came when he was a freshman at Boston College. Recruited heavily out of high school, he was featured in a two-page spread in Sports Illustrated and attended BC on an athletic scholarship. It was there that Herren tried cocaine for the first time. Herren was kicked out of Boston College after committing multiple drug violations. He transferred to Fresno State, where his college basketball career blossomed. After averaging 15 points per game his senior season, Herren was drafted by the NBA’s Denver Nuggets though his problems with drugs persisted.On the night he found out he would be starting for his hometown Boston Celtic, Herren couldn’t take the floor without the painkillers to which he had become addicted. As his life spiraled further out of control, Herren would become addicted to heroin, throw away millions of dollars and a career playing basketball, and attempt suicide, all before his 27th birthday. After yet another relapse following the birth of his third child, Herren’s wife kicked him out and filed a restraining order against him.
Herren talked about something he calls the “mirror test,” basically whether or not someone can look in a mirror and like the person who stares back. As a basketball star, Herren said he always failed this test; it was not until he had kicked his addiction and was working as an assistant tow-truck driver that he finally passed.
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