Chris Herren, author of Basketball Junkie and former NBA basketball player, was welcomed to campus by President Dana Mohler-Faria as the spring 2013 distinguished speaker.
The Fall River native and Durfee High School legend, shared with the packed auditorium his story, from his time as an All-American high school player and NBA start to the drug addictions that left his life in disarray.
Herren was once one of the best players in the country, with scholarship offers aplenty. Ultimately, he chose to attend Boston College. This decision to stay close to home was the start of his troubles. He was introduced to cocaine on the campus, he recalled, which led to him failing multiple drug exams and being kicked out of college. He was given a second chance at Fresno State, where he excelled his sophomore season and was eventually drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1999. However, just as quickly as he’d seen his dreams of an NBA career realized he saw it all ripped away by severe drug and alcohol problems.
Sober since Aug. 1, 2008, Mr. Herren has been focusing on family and helping those suffering from addiction. Drawing from his own experience, Mr. Herren continues to share with audiences his inspirational story, speaking to college students, professional sports teams and high school students around the country in hopes of reaching that one audience member and making a difference in his or her life.
“I travel around the country sharing my story in hopes of inspiring people to share their story because I have found that if I tell mine others will share theirs,” he said.
He founded The Herren Project in 2011, which provides assistance to families affected by addiction, and launched Project Purple, a national anti-substance abuse campaign to encourage people of all ages to stand up to substance abuse. He directed this portion of his speech toward attendees from the Boys and Girls Club of Taunton.
“The high school kids are the reason I do this, let me make a difference in one kid’s life,” he told them. “Be that one kid for me.”
The President’s Distinguished Speaker Series began in 2006 and offers the university community and general public a wealth of perspectives, experiences and insights presented by a wide variety of leaders and luminaries of our time.
(Story and photos by Shawn Finn, 13, University Advancement)