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Former Star Returns Home

Andrea Dupont '12
Trends Editor
Brogan Murphy '12
November 2, 2011

On October 12, Chris Herren, alumnus of Durfee High School and former NBA player, reached out to
the freshmen and seniors of Durfee High School by reflecting on his life. The assembly took place in the Luke Urban Field House.

Herren spoke on his old home court, named after his outstanding coach, Skip Karam. 

“Nothing to me hits home like coming back to Durfee High School because for me, this is my home, this is where a lot of good things started. But all those good things that started at a very young age, on this basketball court, ended very abruptly due to the decisions that I was making at your age,” said Herren.

As a young athlete with outstanding basketball skills Herren felt invincible. With a full scholarship to Boston College, he got kicked out after only four months because of failed drug tests.  After multiple attempts he was finally drafted into the NBA.  While playing for the Denver Nuggets he was traded to "the best team in the NBA," the Boston Celtics.  Herren was heavily influenced by drugs as a Celtic player. 

“I was sitting in my car in the parking lot, with my uniform on, waiting for my dealer to come give me my oxys while my fans were rolling in to watch me play,” said Herren.

Former Durfee basketball star, Chris Herren, reflects on his difficult life.
--Hilltop file photo.
After his stint on the Boston Celtics did not work out, drugs quickly took control of his life.  There was even an incident where he was pronounced dead.

As Herren talked to the seniors and freshmen he reflected upon how money and family were no longer important factors in his life, his drug addiction had completely taken over. He turned down a 9 million dollar contract because he knew it would not be easy to find a drug dealer.

After several failed attempts in rehab he finally had the determination to go back.

“Pull out your cell phone and give me your wife’s number cause you’re going to tell your wife and kids you died and you are never going to see them again, because you are a no good loser junkie,” said Herren’s rehab counselor.

Today, Chris Herren hopes his seventh grade son has the strength to make the right decisions, that Herren did not make at his age.

“I pray that he has the courage to look himself in the mirror and say ‘I like you too much to become someone different,”’ said Herren.

Herren's speech touched many Durfee students in the crowd.

“It was a very inspiring speech about his life.  It makes me think twice about choices I could make if I was put in that situation,” said senior Angela Motta.

“I thought it was touching to see how someone could turn their life around because I personally want to live a life without negative influences and he is a mentor to me. He shows the bad events and the consequences that can happen,” said freshman Luis Cabral.

Chris Herren is now satisfied with how his life has turned out.

"I stand in this gym, three years sober and there is not a better feeling. I’m good being that recovering junkie that helps kids out,” said Herren.

His story can now be seen nationally on his documentary Unguarded. It aired on November 1, 2011 on ESPN.