Former Boston Celtic and Fall River basketball legend Chris Herren will speak at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Performing Arts Center on Wednesday. Mr. Herren will recount his downward spiral from basketball success to drug dependence and rebirth as a drug-free coach and motivational speaker.
His motivational talks and life story are centerpieces of the ESPN film “Unguarded,” which received two Emmy nominations for outstanding sports documentary and outstanding editing. He published his memoir, “Basketball Junkie,” written with Bill Reynolds, in May of last year in which he told in his own words how he nearly lost everything and everyone he loved, and how he found his way back to a productive life.
Mr. Herren was a high school phenom as a 6′ 2″ guard at Durfee High School in Fall River. He became a McDonald’s All-American and one of the top college division 1 prospects in the country. He achieved national recognition as a star player for legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian and was drafted into the NBA in 1999 by the Denver Nuggets in the second round, 33rd pick overall. After a year with Nuggets, Chris was traded to the Boston Celtics, where he suffered a season-ending injury.
Mr. Herren played overseas for several years, trying to work his way back to the NBA. After returning to the States in 2003 he successfully hid his alcohol dependence, then his cocaine addiction, and finally his heroin use until his drug use escalated and he was found unconscious with a heroin needle hanging from his arm in the driver’s seat of his car.
After extensive rehabilitation, Mr. Herren has been drug-free and alcohol-free since August 1, 2008. He has refocused his life and dreams to put his sobriety and family above all else, according to a press release.
Mr. Herren will speak at 6 pm, Wednesday, July 11, at the Performing Arts Center. Admission is free. His appearance is sponsored by Dukes County Deputy Sheriffs Association with the support of the Dukes County Health Council Youth Task Force.