NBA Star, Addict, and Now, an Inspiration

Former Celtics player Chris Herren finds a new role to play.


Feb. 6, 2017 — Chris Herren’s NBA dream turned into a drug nightmare. But he rebounded.

Like so many young basketball players, Chris Herren dreamed of playing in the NBA. He became an All-American in high school, broke scoring records, was recruited by top colleges, and was featured in Sports Illustrated. He was drafted by the Denver Nuggets, then achieved his ultimate goal of playing for his hometown team, the Boston Celtics. 
But he lost it all by becoming a “basketball junkie” in both senses of the word. First he struggled with alcohol, then cocaine and oxycontin, and finally heroin. 
Herren’s story doesn’t end there.
On Feb. 15, Herren will share his story of addiction, loss, and recovery with the NMH community in Memorial Chapel.
In 2008, Herren refocused his life to put his sobriety and family first. In public lectures, media interviews, and as the subject of the Emmy-nominated ESPN Films documentary Unguarded, Herren tells his story with the hope of making a difference in at least one other person’s life. 
In brutally honest talks that draw on his own history, Herren inspires audiences to overcome their setbacks, start making better choices, and follow their dreams.
To support this vision, he founded The Herren Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing treatment, educational, and mentoring programs to those touched by addiction, and to educate people of all ages on the dangers of substance abuse. 

In 2012, The Herren Project launched a national anti-substance-abuse campaign, Project Purple. Since then, an estimated 300,000 teens nationwide have pledged to make good choices, standing up and together against drugs and alcohol.

Herren will be introduced by Caleb Daniloff ’88, who also will meet with students in NMH English classes. He was dismissed from NMH for drug use the night before commencement, at which his father, journalist Nicholas Daniloff, was speaking. Caleb Daniloff went on to become a writer and a runner. His first book was a memoir about running as a tool to help stay sober.