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Basketball Junkie: A Memoirby Chris Herren
Synopses & Reviews
I was dead for thirty seconds.
Thats what the cop in Fall River told me.
When the EMTs found me, there was a needle in my arm and a packet of heroin in the front seat.
At basketball-crazy Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts, junior guard Chris Herren carried his familys and the citys 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 McDonalds All-American, featured in a Sports Illustrated cover story, and at just seventeen years old became the central figure in Fall River Dreams, an acclaimed book about the 1994 Durfee teams quest for the state championship.
Leaving Fall River for college, Herren starred on Jerry Tarkanians Fresno State Bulldogs team of talented misfits, which included future NBA players as well as future convicted felons. His gritty, tattooed, hip-hop persona drew the ire of rival fans and more national attention: Rolling Stone profiled him, 60 Minutes interviewed him, and the Denver Nuggets drafted him. When the Boston Celtics acquired his contract, he lived the dream of every Massachusetts kid—but off the court Herren was secretly crumbling, as his alcohol and drug use escalated and his life spiraled out of control.
Twenty years later, Chris 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. One day, for a time he cannot remember, he would die.
In his own words, Chris Herren tells how he nearly lost everything and everyone he loved, and how he found a way back to life. Powerful, honest, and dramatic, Basketball Junkie is a remarkable memoir, harrowing in its descent, and heartening in its return.
"In this blunt, self-deprecating memoir, Herren tells his story as one of the greatest high school athletes to come out of southern New England. Fall River, Mass., has a storied basketball tradition, and Herren's achievements on the court made him a local hero as well as bringing him to the attention of national recruiters and Sports Illustrated. Overwhelmed by expectations, Herren avoided school and abused drugs and alcohol. Although Herren managed to make it to the NBA, his life continued to spin out of control until he OD'd in his car and was found unconscious with a bag of heroin on the seat beside him. Herren offers explanations for his downfall but doesn't make excuses. Neither does he glorify the partying and excess that made his life a blur. What he does achieve is something more valuable: giving a stark portrayal of the surreal existence led by young sports stars in a world of rapacious agents, vicious rivals, oblivious fans, and educational institutions that enable their 'student' athletes to get away with almost anything. In the end, this is a sobering, cautionary tale for star-athletes-to-be. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
CHRIS HERREN is a former NBA basketball player for the Denver Nuggets and the Boston Celtics. His company, Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren, Inc., provides basketball training for young players as well as educational talks. He lives in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
Chris Herren is the founder of Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren, a basketball player development company; the author of Basketball Junkie; and a public speaker with the American Program Bureau.
BILL REYNOLDS is a sports columnist for The Providence Journal and the author of several previous books, including Fall River Dreams and (with Rick Pitino) the #1 New York Times bestseller Success Is a Choice. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
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