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Basketball legend Chris Herren realized his dreams by playing for the Boston Celtics in the NBA, only to lose it all to addiction before rising again with a new dream. With the unwavering support of his family and friends, Chris has been sober since August 2008. Since 2009, he’s spoken to over a million students, athletes, and community members, igniting honest conversations about substance use disorder and wellness. On May 16 at 6 p.m. he will share his compelling story with family and community members in the Newark High School auditorium.
Earlier in the day, Herren will speak to Newark Middle School students and on May 17th, he will speak to NHS students.
In a profile about him for his bestselling memoir “Basketball Junkie” on Amazon.com it explains Herren’s basketball dreams began as a 6’2” guard at Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts where he so excelled on the court that he became one of the top Division 1 prospects in the country.
“Herren’s basketball success concealed a darker side, and his dream soon became a nightmare of addiction—first alcohol, then cocaine, finally heroin. A chaotic and often uncertain college career plagued by drugs and rehab led to the NBA.
“In 1999 he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the NBA Draft as the 33rd pick overall. After a year with the Nuggets, Chris was traded to the Boston Celtics where he suffered a season ending injury.
“Trying to work his way back to the NBA, Herren played overseas until 2003 when he came back to the States. His alcohol and drug use escalated until he was found unconscious with a heroin needle hanging from his arm in the driver’s seat of his car.
“After extensive rehabilitation stays, Chris has been drug-free since June 4, 2008, and alcohol-free since August 1, 2008. Herren has refocused his life and dreams to put his sobriety and family above all else.
“In June of 2009, Chris launched a basketball player development company, Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren, Inc. 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.
In addition to “Basketball Junkie,” Herren’s recovery has been documented in the Emmy-nominated ESPN Films documentary “Unguarded,” and in countless national and international newspaper and magazine stories.
“When Superintendent Susan Hasenauer and I were determining last fall what speakers we could fund through our COVID funding, we knew that Chris Herren would have a positive impact. Substance abuse and mental health are two issues our students and families are contending with so our hope is that we can work together with this initiative and others to help support our youth. We are so excited to welcome Chris Herren into our district,” said Sandra Ordan, Newark Central School District Director of Innovation and Grants Services.
“We are committed in our Strategic Plan to supporting the culture and climate across the District by focusing on the social and emotional health of our students and their safety and security,” Hasenauer said. “We are beyond excited to bring our community together, as a whole, to hear this nationally-acclaimed speaker discuss a topic that creates barriers in our District and in society.”