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Chris Herren: Basketball Junkie to Mentor Essay

With drugs everywhere in this world, Chris Herren became what he never believed he would; a drug addict. Chris grew up in a poor family in Fall River, MA and could have become a NBA star. He was predicted to be the number 1 pick in the NBA draft if he was clean. Now, not even the highs of his NCAA and NBA career will cover up what he has done to his life. The life of Christopher Albert Herren is a true example of how a person can overcome a struggle and then make an impact in society.

Chris Herren was born on September 7, 1975. He attended and graduated Durfee High School from 1990-1994, there he played basketball. “Chris Herren, Durfee High School basketball’s only 2,000-point career scorer”(Chris Herren To1). Legendary basketball colleges such as, University of Kentucky and Duke University gave Chris an opportunity to play for them, but he turned it down to play at Boston College. Chris was featured in Sports Illustrated, hyping his possible success. In his freshman year at Boston College, before the season had started, Chris failed a drug test for marijuana and cocaine. After passing the drug test later, Chris played his first game for Boston College and scored 14 points in 21 minutes. However, during the game he broke his wrist and was out for the rest of the season.

In the first three months of his injury Chris failed two more drug tests for marijuana and cocaine. Eventually, because off his drug issue, he was kicked off the team and kicked out of school. After being kicked out of Boston College, Chris transferred to Fresno State University to play basketball. Chris made his debut for Fresno State in his sophomore year because of NCAA transfer rules. Two years after breaking his wrist, Chris failed another drug test. He was required to go to a rehabilitation center for 28 days. After returning Chris played in 86 games at Fresno State. At the end of his senior year at Fresno State he relapsed and went right back to doing drugs. After his senior year at Fresno State, Chris entered the NBA Draft and was selected by the Denver Nuggets in the 2nd round with the 33rd overall pick.

When he was drafted into the NBA by the Denver Nuggets, the players knew about his drug issue. Therefore, they tried to help him stay on a clean path to a drug free life. His teammates would all take turns staying with him and making sure he didn’t drink or do any drugs. He was clean for over a year, however, that was all erased after he was traded to the Boston Celtics because he relapsed again. While with The Boston Celtics, Chris used painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocent. He was released by the Boston Celtics because of a season ending knee injury. After he recovered from that injury, Chris went to play in Europe and Asia.

There he would have dealers send packages of painkillers, so he would always have his drugs. However, he was caught using drugs and sent back to America. A few months later, in the parking lot of a Dunkin’ Donuts, Chris was found unconscious and was charged with possession of heroin and driving under the influence with a revoked license. Soon Chris started to purchase and use crystal meth. While under the influence of crystal meth, Chris overdosed and crashed his car into a utility pole. The paramedics on site at the accident said he was dead for thirty seconds.

After that accident, Chris realized that what he was doing was destroying his life. He didn’t have a relationship with his children and his wife didn’t talk to him. The drug addict went to a rehabilitation center to finally get clean for good. Since being released from rehab he has been straightedge for over four years now. He has done many thing to help society and try to clear his name. He has joined a organization called Hoop Dreams which helps young athletes achieve their optimal level of playing the sport of basketball.

Chris states, “Each player will gain valuable, individualized training designed to focus on basic basketball skill techniques to develop the total player. To achieve hoop dreams it will take drive and follow through. Each player will be trained in an intense, focused session with the goal of raising each athlete to the next level of play to achieve their hoop dream.”(Hoop Dreams1).

Chris has also started his own non-profit organization called The Herren Project. The Herren Project helps people recover from drugs and alcohol so they can live a healthy life, offers educational programs to show signs off addiction, and ‘bring hope for a better tomorrow.’ There goals are to “Positively impact the lives of those suffering with addiction, specifically the uninsured, by providing them with effective treatment programs, support and the necessary tools to be successful on their road to sobriety.

Educate youth and at-risk populations on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and provide techniques to handle pressure within their lives, their community or their family situation.” (The Herren Project1). Both the Herren Project and the story of Chris Herren has impacted how society looks at drugs. He has shown people there is a way out and inspired many people; young and old, to never give up and spread the message that one always has a chance to change. And that is what we need in this world. Change.

Work Cited
“Chris Herren to Be Honored at Friday’s Durfee Game.” Http://www.heraldnews.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2012. Herren, Chris A. “Mission | Theherrenproject.org.” Theherrenproject.org. Chris Herren, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2012. “Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren.” Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2012.

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