Former NBA player tells of struggles with addiction

Many students brought to tears


Shannon Ahearn

Chris Herren, former NBA player, speaks to sophomores at an emotional assembly in which he told his story of addiction and recovery. He later tweeted that he enjoyed his visit at DHS.

Corinne Philbin , Arts Editor

   Former NBA player Chris Herren gave an inspiring speech to the sophomore class on April 6 about his struggle overcoming his drug addiction.

Herren, who again told his story to the Danbury community that night, travels to 250 schools a year to share his story and motivate students.

Originally from Fall River, Mass., he was drafted into the NBA in 1999, and played for the Boston Celtics. He was featured in multiple magazines, such as Rolling Stone and Sports Illustrated, as well as being named to the McDonald’s All-America team.

All that glory and fame quickly disappeared when Herren’s drug addiction came out of hiding.

He has overdosed four times and has seven drug-related felonies on his record.

Now sober for nearly eight years, Herren has devoted the past five years of his life to traveling across the United States to share his story.

The speech was focused more on the audience and how the students  can prevent what he endured happening to them.

The phrase repeated most that resounded strongly with listeners was “Why aren’t I enough?” regarding having to do drugs or drink in order to hang out with friends.

The speech contained various  stories of students all across the country that Herren has helped in one way or another with his presentation.

Herren explained that he came from a broken household, with his parents divorced because of his father being an alcoholic and his mother having depression.

He also touched upon a part of his  non-profit organization called Project Purple, which encourages students to stand up to drug abuse and create a sober culture within their schools.

Sniffles and sobs were heard at the end of the presentation, with some students having to be excused from the auditorium because of the emotional baggage the speech contained.

Sophomore Kiely Drake commented, “I thought that he had a really inspiring story. He really touched the hearts of many sophomores and made them change their mindsets.”

When Herren opened up to questions near the end of the speech, the crying grew louder as various students stood up to share their experience with drug addiction and abuse in their own families.

The emotion could be felt from every inch of the auditorium, and the impact that the speech had on the students and the Danbury community was profound.

Later in the day, Herren tweeted, “Danbury HS was the real deal this a.m. Thank you.”