Former Basketball Star, Chris Herren Overcomes Addiction and Talks About The Destruction it Caused
Chris Herren was mentioned alongside Allen Iverson as one of Americaâ€™s best guards in basketball. Why didn’t we see his career skyrocket to the top? Drugs were his downfall. Herren had multiple overdoses and suicide attempts under his belt. Chris Herren overcomes addiction and now he is out to change the way addiction is viewed.
Herren stated in a speech, â€œOut of the 15 kids on my high school basketball team that they wrote a book about, who drank in basements where parents told us we were safe, seven of us became heroin addicts.â€ He continued, â€œSeven of us stuck needles in our arms when we got older.â€ Herren explained, â€œWe thought we were safe in the basement. We thought we were real cool in the woods.â€
Herren spoke about how in college he had to go to a speech similar to what he was doing now in order to get out of a suspension. He sat in the back of the room, talking and ignoring the speaker. He states that he wished he would have listen to the speaker, because that night he did cocaine for the first time.
Herren explained, â€œI had no idea, at 18 years old when I promised myself one time, that one line was going to take 14 years to walk away from.â€
Herren stated that cocaine line would lead to a $25,000 per month addiction to oxycodone, other drugs, and drinking. The only thing keeping Herren afloat for 14 years were his basketball skills. Even though he was kicked out of Boston College for failing drug tests, Herren made it into the NBA. He was a second round draft pick of the Denver Nuggets.
Herren dreamed of playing for the Boston Celtics, and his dream came true of his second professional season. With such exciting news, you would think he would call everyone, but who was the first person he called? His drug dealer was first on his list. His season with the Boston Celtics was cut short due to injury and that was Herren’s last season.
He played for a number of foreign teams, trying to regain what he once had, but he did not. Everytime he gained momentum, his lifestyle with drugs would pull him back down. Herren did say that his popularity did keep him out of a few situations that would have landed him in jail. He wondered about the people who did not have a name to fall back on. What happens to them?
Chris Herren overcomes addiction and other obstacles now and uses his experience to help anyone he can. Herren spoke to a crowd about instances where parents would bring their kids, in their 20’s to hear him speak. These would nod off during his speech, as their parents try to keep them awake. Herren stated that he would get emails weeks later from those same parents. They were emailing him to say they just found their child dead. He told the crowd he couldnâ€™t count the number of times he heard that.
The crowd went silent after he stated that information. Herren demands change, â€œSomething has to change. We have to start treating this differently.â€