Former NBA player shares story of overcoming addiction

Photo: herrentalks.com

Chris Herren, high school basketball legend and NBA player turned motivational speaker, struggled with substance abuse throughout his college and pro career.

Herren has been sober for over 11 years and he now dedicates his life to share his story with the goal of having a positive influence and keeping others from going down the same path he took.

After scoring over 2,000 career points at Durfee High School in Massachusetts, Herren was named to the 1994 McDonald’s All-American team.

Herren started his career at Boston College, but failed drug tests for cocaine cut his time short there and he eventually transferred to Fresno State to play under legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian.

After being named to the All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) first team in 1996 and 1997, Herron had to miss part of the 1997-1998 season to seek treatment for an ongoing struggle with substance use disorder.

Herren was selected in the second round of the 1999 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets.

After playing 45 games with the Nuggets, he was traded to his hometown team, the Boston Celtics in 2000.

Herren suffered a season-ending injury after playing just 25 games for the Celtics before going on to play overseas in China, Iran, Italy, Poland and Turkey.

“It wasn’t until I got to the NBA where I was introduced to OxyContin, to painkillers, and it became a daily habit,” said Herren in a recent interview. “You know, people often ask me did I ever play under the influence? And the reality is in that world, you can’t play without it.”

He once crashed his vehicle into a utility pole following an overdose and was declared dead for about 30 seconds.

Through his Herren Talks, Chris has spoken to over one million students and community members, sparking discussions about substance use disorder and wellness.

Herren focuses on prevention education and challenges audiences to rethink how we look at the disease of addiction; changing the focus from the last day to the first.

In 2011, Herron founded the nonprofit Herren Project where he and his team empower schools and communities to make healthy choices, while also guiding families through recovery.

In 2018, Herren also founded Herren Wellness, a residential health and wellness program that helps guests lead healthy, substance-free lives.

Herron has received recognition ranging from the Boston Celtics’ Hero Among Us Award to the Faces and Voices of Recovery National Voice of Recovery Award and he continues to impact communities.