Former athlete to shed light on drug abuse consequences


Former NBA player Chris Herren is coming to Illinois State University to talk about his journey with professional basketball and how drugs and alcohol took over.

Herren’s talk, which is part of the Speaker Series, will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Redbird Arena. He will share his experiences and life choices with students as well as how he eventually got back on the right path.

“Hopefully [students] will take away an understanding that the choices we make can have a profound impact on our lives, the lives of those we care about and our futures,” Robert Fitzgerald, University High School b0ys basketball coach said.

Herren was the star of the Durfee High School basketball team from Fox River, Mass. He was named to the McDonald’s All-American team and was Gatorade Player of the Year.

At Boston College, Herren was sidelined at his first game due to a wrist injury and failed several drug tests before leaving. He went to Fresno State afterwards and was drafted into the NBA by the Denver Nuggets.

Soon after joining the Boston Celtics, Herren began a battle with addiction and got traded several times before turning his life around.

Herren tells his story in his memoir “Basketball Junkie” and has had many interviews with ESPN for the Emmy nominated documentary “Unguarded.” He refocused his life for the better and put his family first.

“We had the chance to see him last year and thought his message was powerful and important for young people in our community to hear,” Fitzgerald said.

Since leading a new life of sobriety, Herren launched a basketball player development company called Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren. He also provides assistance to families affected by addiction through his nonprofit organization — The Herren Project.

“The ISU and Bloomington-Normal community are blessed to have the chance to bring Chris here to speak as part of the speaker series,” Fitzgerald said.

“We hope that everyone will come out and get a chance to hear his message.”

For more information about Chris Herren and his organization, visit

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