In New Montour Athletic Center, Chris Herren Shares Story of Struggle
The once drug-addicted former professional basketball player speaks before a packed Montour Athletic Center.
Former NBA star Chris Herren said he used to be "one of those kids who talked and messed around" during school assemblies.
At the assembly, he urged students to avoid use of controlled substances. Herren told students he overdosed four times and at the height of his addiction had a "$25,000 a day" pill habit. He has been convicted of seven felonies.
Herren also formerly played for the Denver Nuggets and in a European professional league.
"I spent every dollar I ever earned playing basketball on drugs," Herren said. "I spent every dollar my wife earned from working on drugs."
Herren said he was first released from Boston College's line-up as a college freshman after testing positive for cocaine. He said his drug habits escalated during college and his early professional career. While playing in Italy he began using heroin, he said.
Herren, now a basketball coach in Rhode Island, tours the country and speaks about his drug addiction.
He has been profiled on ESPN's award-winning 30 for 30 documentary series, authored the book Basketball Junkie and has launched the Project Purple initiative aimed at promoting drug awareness. He has been sober since 2008.
Students and staff members wore purple in honor of Herren's visit.
"This isn't a typical assembly where you go to just get out of class," said Montour basketball coach Adam Kaufman.
The event took place in the school district's newly completed $17 million athletic center, located next to Montour High School.
The center, seating 1,500, will feature a golf simulator, pool, track and special rooms for aerobics, cheerleading and wrestling, said Superintendent Donald Boyer, who spoke to the students.
"This was designed for you," Boyer said to students packing the gymnasium. "(The athletic center) was designed with students in mind."