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Chris Herren‘s story is one of profound struggle and eventual redemption. Addiction impacts millions of families in heartbreaking ways. I know this personally and through sitting with multiple clients who have been going through it with loved ones. This makes today’s conversation about addiction and recovery on the Cracking Open podcast especially powerful.

As a young basketball prodigy from Fall River, MA, Chris soared to fame with over 2000 points in high school, even gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated before graduating. However, his journey with addiction had already started to derail his life and his future as a professional athlete. Due to repeated failed drug tests, Chris was expelled from Boston College.

Legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian reached out to Chris and gave him a second chance to play college basketball at Fresno State. He flourished there, leading him into the NBA, playing with the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics. In secret though, Chris was still battling with alcohol and drug addiction, and basketball simply couldn’t compete with the lure of alcohol, cocaine, and heroin.

Despite his success on the court, his personal life spiraled out of control, culminating in an overdose and near-death experience in 2008. Through what he calls his “sherpas” – guiding lights on his journey – Chris fully embraced recovery, and has been sober since August 1, 2008. He continues to share his story through various platforms, including his bestselling memoir Basketball Junkie and the Emmy-nominated ESPN Films documentary Unguarded.

Chris has dedicated his life to sobriety and creating a positive impact in the world. Through his company Herren Talks, he has reached over a million students and community members, sparking crucial conversations about substance use disorder and wellness. Chris’s nonprofit Herren Project, empowers schools and communities to make healthy choices and supports families through recovery. Herren Wellness, established in 2018, offers residential health and wellness programs to support substance-free living.

Chris’s journey and this conversation around addiction recovery will resonate deeply with many of you. Even if you have not been personally touched by addiction, understanding this topic and its impact is crucial, making this conversation particularly significant.



Learn more about Chris Herren and his work here
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