Today: Jun 17, 2024

Former NBA star visits Southern

photo courtesy | Chris Herren spoke about his battle with drugs and how his addiction changed his life.

Aaron Johnson – Special to the Southern News

A hush fell over the crowd at the John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts and many could not believe what they were hearing. Former NBA player Chris Herren had lived his dream, but underneath his dream was a nightmare.

“You’re only as sick as your secrets,” said Herren, who is a recovering drug addict.

In an event sponsored by the S.C.S.U. Athletic Department, the Office of Student Affairs and the Drug and Alcohol Resource Center, Herren spoke about his struggles with his past drug addiction.

“I heard the story so many times as an athlete. And I look back and I say all those opportunities that I just blew it. [So] I am going to challenge myself in my story to try and make an impact on people,” said Herren.

Herren was recruited by several major college basketball programs, such as Kentucky and Duke. But Herren said he remembers being in high school and watching a man speak about substance abuse and thinking it was a waste of his time.

“It’s a joke, all I do is drink and smoke,” said Herren.

But what Herren said he did not realize was that mentality would then lead to a $25,000 per month drug habit.

Herren said that it was during his freshman year at Boston College when he first did cocaine. He then failed his first of three consecutive drug tests. After only playing a single game at Boston College, Herren was sent home.

Herren said all was well at Fresno State until his junior year, when he failed another drug test.

“At 21 years old, I had to go on camera and tell the world I was a drug addict,” said Herren.

The crowd of onlookers were shocked to hear that Herren had failed his fourth drug test in three years. But that was merely the tip of the iceberg, as Herren would then become addicted to oxycotton and heroin after entering the NBA.

photo courtesy | southernctowls.comChris Herren spoke about his battle with drugs and how his addiction changed his life.
photo courtesy |
Chris Herren spoke about his battle with drugs and how his addiction changed his life.

“My dream coming true was actually my nightmare coming true,” said Herren.

It would be a number of years before Herren could pass on an opportunity to get his next fix.

“At 27, I said no for the first time in my life,” said Herren.

However it would be short-lived as a few months later, Herren overdosed, almost resulting in his death.

“The cop said to me, homeboy you were just dead for 30 seconds,” said Herren

That statement is what really touched S.C.S.U. freshman football player Wesley Crowell.

“I thought it was really powerful, it kinda gave you an insight to how quickly things can go wrong,” said Crowell, public health major.

Now sober for almost five years, Herren said he does not want to be remembered as a hero.

“I would like for people to say he was willing to share his struggle to make a difference, I wouldn’t say I‘m a hero because we‘re in this together. My heroes are those in early recovery and those people who have 25 years under their belt,” said Herren.

However, Herren is truly an inspiration to others, such as freshman football player Delmont Araujo, who saw Herren in high school as well.

Araujo said “He  really inspired me to never get involved because it can really spiral your life out of control.”


1 Comment

  1. great article! i hope students take notice and dont believe it could not happen to them.

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