Chris Herren Delivers Powerful Message to CM Students

 
 
 
West Roxbury, Mass. — On January 12, Catholic Memorial students received an eye-opening and powerful reminder about the dangers of substance abuse from former Boston Celtics player Chris Herren. 
 
Herren told students of his rise as an elite high school basketball prospect for Durfee High School in Fall River in the mid-90s to his downfall driven by drug abuse. Herren’s nearly 90-minute delivery saw him bring Ronald S. Perry Gymnasium to a near hush as students listened to him explain how a beer or a marijuana joint in high school turned into harder drugs. In his first year as a member of the Boston College basketball team, he was forced to leave due to addiction issues. He was given a second chance at Fresno State and later was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1999. When he was traded to the Celtics before the start of the 2000-01 season, he began to struggle with painkiller addiction. After being released by the Celtics, he played for several international teams, but his struggles, including heroin addiction, hindered his career.  
 
Despite high-profile arrests and a 2008 crash, he has remained sober since August 2008. He told students that his work helping others fight addiction and his road to recovery remains his proudest achievements. 
 
"I got that 2,000-point banners," said Herren, pointing to the gymnasium rafters. "I got the All-American banner. Durfee High School has my Celtics jersey. That means nothing to me. I’m not proud of what I did as a professional athlete. What I’m proud of is that for the past 14 years, I’ve been the same dad. Fourteen years I haven't changed myself. Fourteen years my kids can look into my eyes and know who they're gonna get."
 
The big takeaway from Herren's presentation was to be confident with who you are and if you are struggling, find someone to talk to and take advantage of what he lacked – a support system. 
 
"I wish a teacher or coach sat me down and said to me, 'you don't find it concerning that you can't hang out with kids on a Friday night (without alcohol), but you can play in front of a lot of people and hit dunks and alley-oops and pump your fist?'" Herren said.
 
Since 2011, Herren has launched an organization dedicated to basketball development, a non-profit to share his story, and Herren Wellness, a residential health and wellness program. He has shared his story with more than 2 million children in the past 10 years. 
 
Following the presentation, CM President Peter Folan reminded students that there is a team of teachers, administrators, and counselors if they need assistance. 
 
“We are here to help if you have challenges on your journey,” Folan said. 
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Catholic Memorial, the Christian Brothers School of Boston, prepares boys for college, manhood and a world full of unknown challenges, ambiguity and complex problems and the importance of relationships.