A yonki on the court: the test of the NBA player addicted to heroin

The data on the bank accounts of former NBA players is, in many cases, staggering. Some have been able to invest their fortune correctly and have succeeded in increasing their wealth if possible.

However, statistics reveal that 60% of the world’s top league stars have gone bankrupt in just 4 years since his retirement.

Chris Herren: NBA player and drug addict

Much of these athletes live lives of the praise, money, and dubious business of their college stadium, when they start to stand out in sport and the smell of future money is gone. They are treated like stars and their environment pushes them to become basketball and advertising machines to quickly monetize their talent. These two facets subordinate the need to take charge of education, both formal and informal, for young people, especially since many players come from families with serious financial problems.

The humble origins of many African-American actors, from conflicting and unstructured families, translate into disproportionate expectations in the face of the shoot’s growing success. There are cases for both give and sell. One of the most famous was the sad story of Len Bias, a 2.03-meter tall athletic winger. His passage to college (between 16 and 18 years) and to university (between 18 and 22 years) was dazzling, being designated All American in his first year course.

Len Bias’ comparisons with Michael Jordan have become a constant in the media, And was finally chosen in the Draft of the year 1986, in second place by the Boston Celtics. For those less educated in the noble sport of basketball, this choice means that Bias signed his first contract for an NBA team by being selected as the second best young player on the planet.

At 22, Bias was the happiest man in the world, and faced with this guaranteed multi-million dollar contract, he went to celebrate it with friends. That same night, the young promise Len Bias died of cardiac arrhythmia caused by cocaine overdose.

Len Bias was never able to play an NBA game, and his death came as a big shock to his family, loved ones and the entire sports world in general. It took years for the NBA to recover from this blow, and the Bias affair ushered in some protection and control measures for college players.

The Stormy Life of Chris Herren

Chris Herren’s life is worthy of a Hollywood movie. His long relationship with drugs, which has brought him to the brink of death on several occasions, deserves to be explained.

Hailing from Fall River, a small town in the state of Massachusetts, Herren was a child prodigy with the orange ball. His explosive physique, his buildable stature in the basic position (1.90m) and his quick, magical style of play made him one of the great attractions of the varsity league, as well as one of the best future projects of the league. NBA. it was precisely I went to college in Boston, when Herren flirted with drugs.

Chris Herren had a certain reputation as a troubled, cheeky boy. During his previous stage, in high school, he had been chased several times by drinking alcohol, even in the hours before the big matches. Obviously, the switch from alcohol to cocaine has been tremendous.

College League illegal substance test detected positive for cocaine use in Herren’s blood. The young player had been caught again, and in this case with a hard drug in his blood. Boston University officials decided to fire him from the team. Herren landed at mediocre University in Fresno, California. His situation in these latitudes worsened fatally: Herren had constant remorse and suffered from severe depression from the embarrassment caused by the public disclosure of his drug addiction. He considered himself a failure for failing in his small village, where he was an idol. His family and all the people of Fall River had high expectations of him, and he felt that the drug affair had definitely disappointed them and that his public image would never be the same again.

The player created his trip to Fresno by promising to stop using illegal substances. A promise that, years later, turned out to be broken.

Despite everything, Herren progressed on the track until he became one of the best players in the college league, also sharing outrageous statistics, which were only clouded by their great irregularity. Still, the basketball world saw him with great options to choose from in the draft, which ultimately happened.

His step in the NBA

Herren married and had a son before making his NBA debut. His wife was a staunch support in dealing with his serious psychological and drug addiction issues, and cushioned the frequent ups and downs of the grassroots, who showed no signs of her problems in public. was chosen at No. 33 in the Denver Nuggets draft. Herren faced a shooting test with his professional contract signed and the possibility of securing a place among the best. An opportunity not only to be successful in sport, but to take responsibility for their lives and leave their demons behind.

During his first year as a professional, Herren was briefly linked by veteran Nuggets players such as Antonio McDyess and Nick Van Exel, the two established leaders and stars of the league. Just watching him arrive in the halls to attend his first training session, Van Exel intercepted him and, accompanied by the giant McDyess, blurted out Herren: “Damn, we know your CV, so we’ll keep an eye on you. . “. So they did, and Herren himself admitted several years later that this was one of his healthiest seasons..

A 22 year old boy playing in the NBA, earning millions of dollars. And totally out of control. His life was deteriorating at an astonishing rate. In his second season, Herren was traded to the Boston Celtics, one of the NBA’s most acclaimed franchises, and his hometown. The prodigal son was returning home. At this point, he started using a drug called oxycodone, a pain reliever commonly used to relieve pain in joint and muscle injuries. But Herren lost control and began to compulsively take oxycodone.

Herren’s own account of events is chilling, and although he has publicly shown a photo of another basketball player, psychologically he was broken, Unable to take off and with an anxiety that overwhelmed him.

From Boston to Turkey: a basketball season

His low-key season sparked his departure from BostonAnd Herren left US soil to sign for Turkey’s Galatasaray, a team preparing to make the playoffs. There he achieved very important figures. The following year, he landed in China, where he also established himself as an effective base. His good performance silenced doubts about his possible mental state or his extra-sporting problems. As often happens in the world of sport, the human facet of the protagonists is reduced to nothing by the intensity of the spotlight on the playing field.

In this sealed life, Chris Herren had switched from oxycodone to more and more types of stimulants. He had started using heroin, one of the most dangerous drugs. According to his own testimonies, he had all kinds of drugs available to him in all the countries he visited.

The umpteenth relapse

The player fell into a whirlwind of drugs, despair, depression and insanity. In her particular hell, even her two children could not be reason enough to overcome her addictions. He was on the verge of suicide several times, aware that it was a burden on his family. His constant relapses were costing his wife’s health. Herren says that, in one of his constant delusions, he abandoned his family and lived for a few days as a vagrant, after drinking alcohol next to a homeless man on the street.

His story seemed doomed. He was admitted to a drug rehab center thanks to an old friendship from his mother, who died years before that. Gradually, Herren came out of the hole, not without kicking and relapsing. The director of the center where Herren was hospitalized allowed him to leave the facility for a few hours to attend the birth of his third child. Right after such an event, Herren went to get some alcohol at a liquor store.

Upon learning of this episode, his wife told him that if he did not return to the center to complete his rehab, he would never want to see him again. He returned, and there he met one of the participants, who, after witnessing various violations of house rules and the great pain caused to his wife and children, let Herren go:

“Why don’t you call your wife and leave her alone at the same time?” Don’t you realize you’re sinking your family?


Chris Herren managed to defeat the devil. He is currently fully rehabilitated and is engaged in lectures and lectures across the United States to tell his story and educate the public, especially young people, about the effect of substances.

Drugs have marked his career, which could have been incredible, and his personal life. Herren no longer plays in the NBA, but he can be proud of having taken the lead, of having succeeded in being an example. He currently lives with his wife and children and says that after many years, you can shave looking at yourself in the mirror every morning.

A documentary that tells his whole life

Don’t miss it documentary on the life of Chris Herren:

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