Chris Herren, a basketball legend from Fall River, and a Portsmouth resident, realized his dreams by playing for the Boston Celtics in the NBA, only to lose it all to drug addiction.
At basketball-crazy Durfee High School in Fall River, junior guard Herren carried his family's and the city's dreams on his skinny frame. His grandfather, father and older brother had created their own sports legends in a declining city; he was the last, best hope for a career beyond the shuttered mills and factories.
Herren was heavily recruited by major universities, chosen as a McDonald's All-American, featured in a Sports Illustrated cover story, and at just 17 years old became the central figure in Fall River Dreams, a book about the 1994 Durfee team's quest for the state championship.
Twenty years later, Herren was married to his high-school sweetheart, the father of three young children and a heroin junkie.
His basketball career was over, consumed by addictions; he had no job, no skills and was a sadly familiar figure to those in Fall River who remembered him as a boy, now prowling the streets he once ruled, looking for a fix.
In his own words, Herren now tells how he nearly lost everything and everyone he loved, and how he found a way back to life.
Basketball Junkie: A Memoir, written by Herren and Providence Journalist columnist Bill Reynolds, chronicles Herren’s life after high school as one of the most celebrated athletes in Southern New England.
The book was released on Tuesday, May 10, by St. Martin’s Press. Herren and Reynolds will celebrate the publication of the book with a public reception on Thursday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Island Books in Middletown. Both co-authors will discuss the book, take questions and sign copies.
Within the acknowledgement, Herren thanks the owners of , where a majority of the book was written. Herren lives in Portsmouth with his wife and three children.
Reynolds, a Providence resident, is a sports columnist for The Providence Journal and the author of several previous books, including Fall River Dreams and (with Rick Pitino) the No. 1 New York Times bestseller Success Is a Choice.
The book, Basketball Junkie: A Memoir, chronicles Herren’s rise from high school to Fresno State, where he was named to the All-WAC first team 1996 and 1997 and held school records in both assists and steals.
In 1999, he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the NBA Draft as the 33rd pick overall. After a year with the Nuggets, Chris was traded to the Boston Celtics where he suffered a season ending injury.
Trying to work his way back to the NBA, Herren played overseas until 2003 when he came back to the states, but his alcohol and drug use escalated. After extensive rehabilitation stays, Chris has been drug free since June 4, 2008, and alcohol free since Aug. 1, 2008.
In June of 2009, Chris launched a basketball player development company, Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren Inc.
For the summer of 2011, Hoop Dreams will offer a Total Player Development Clinic, which will run for three weeks in August at the in Portsmouth. For basketball players looking to bring their game to the next level, this three-week clinic begins Monday, Aug. 1, and Tuesday, Aug. 2, and will include basketball drills, skills, ball handling, strength training and conditioning.
Since the summer of 2009, Chris has trained more than 200 basketball players including some of the top basketball prospects in New England. For more details on all camps and clinics or for registration information, players may visit www.ahoopdream.com.