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Garden City Life - Schools

A Cautionary Tale

Former basketball star

Chris Herren shares story

The Jamie and Paige Malone Foundation, Garden City Community Coalition and the Garden City PTA will host Herren’s jarring presentation on March 25, at Garden City High School at 7:30 PM.

Landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated, scoring 2,073 points in his varsity basketball career and heavily recruited by many Division 1 schools­—by all accounts Chris Herren, at the tender age of 18, had it all. He made Durfee High School in Fall River, Mass. proud and had the beginnings of not just a promising career but the chance at a legendary one. That opportunity was curtailed by substance abuse.

“I said I will only do it once and then I’ll never do it again,” is what Herren was thinking the first time he tried cocaine at Boston College where he was about to play point guard for the BC Eagles. He was coaxed by a student that assured him, “it wouldn’t hurt him.”

He made a choice and it’s a choice that he credits for a 14-year drug addiction. Herren would go on to fail multiple drug tests and was asked to leave the Boston College basketball team.

Herren was given more chances, enabled as many athletes are, and went on to play for Fresno State. In time, he developed a $25,000 a month oxycodone habit. Again he thought, “I’ll try it, I’ll do it one time.” Herren finished his college career and was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the NBA. In October 2000, Herren was traded to the Boston Celtics, what should have been the realization of a boyhood dream for the New England native. Drugs changed that.

On March 25 and 26, The Jamie and Paige Malone Foundation, The Garden City Community Coalition and the Garden City PTA will host Herren’s jarring presentation where he will share how his promise turned into drug addiction, homelessness and almost death. Herren has turned himself around and his mission is to help make a difference in the lives of young people around the world. His presentation, “Unguarded,” is based on ESPN’s award-winning documentary.

Herren’s story is a powerful cautionary tale and one he himself, as a student, ignored. At presentations around the country he has been quoted saying, “No one starts with cocaine, they start with smoking pot and drinking beer. I wish I had the courage and was comfortable enough with myself back then. I didn’t like myself. I’m okay with who I am today. There is no reason to change who you are. Walk around as who you are.”

Parents and community members are invited to Herren’s presentation on March 25 at Garden City High School. Herren will address all of the Garden City High School students on March 26 in the gym.