Chris Herren, Former NBA player, Speaks to Lasell Athletes about Substance Addiction

Chris Herren, Former NBA player, Speaks to Lasell Athletes about Substance Addiction

October 22, 2012

Chris Herren, a native of Fall River, Massachusetts, former NBA player with the Boston Celtics, and a drug addict for more than 10 years spoke, to a rapt audience Sunday night as Lasell athletes filled de Witt Hall to hear his hour-long talk.

Herren, who played short stints with the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics, struggled with severe substance addiction throughout his career. Herren, who has written about, and been the subject of, documentaries about his substance abuse as a player, spoke to an overflow crowd at de Witt Hall about the mistakes he made as a young player and gave advice about how to avoid them.

The crowd of more than 150 students paid close attention as Herren spoke for an hour, chronicling his rise to basketball stardom, participation in a Sports Illustrated photo shoot as a freshman basketball player at Boston College, and the fateful first use of cocaine at BC that led him toward drug addiction.

After failing a drug test at BC, Herren subsequently went on to play for Fresno State, was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1999 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets and later went on to play for the Boston Celtics in 2000. After a season-ending injury, he went on to play basketball in several countries including Italy, Poland and Turkey - all the while hiding his drug addiction from his family.

"You are only as sick as your secrets," Herren told the students and others at the talk, encouraging anyone in the audience with a substance abuse problem to seek help.

Alcohol and drug-free since August 1, 2008, he has refocused his life to put his sobriety and family above all else. He now spends much of his time  speaking before audiences at colleges and for NBA, NFL and other sports teams.

In June of 2009 Herren launched Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren, a basketball player development company which offers basketball training, camps, and clinics to top basketball prospects in New England. Off the court he continues to share his story with audiences in the hopes of reaching just one person and making a difference in their life. To support this vision, he founded The Herren Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing assistance to families affected by addiction.

Chris Herren's memoir, Basketball Junkie, written with Providence Journal columnist Bill Reynolds, was released in May of 2011. It chronicles his struggles with addiction and his journey on and off the basketball court. He is also the subject of an ESPN films documentary Unguarded, directed by Jonathan Hock.

The event was co-sponsored by Lasell's Peer Health Educators, Health Services, the Counseling Center and the Athletic Department.