Though he played amazingly for teams like the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets, former NBA star Chris Herren may actually leave a bigger legacy for his outstanding recovery work. Since his retirement from professional sports, Chris has spearheaded a growing movement to get people clean and help families impacted by addiction.
His recovery based Herren Project has now helped hundreds of thousands of Americans turn their lives around and, in the last few months, it’s been getting a large amount of viral attention. CNN recently did a piece on Chris and his inspirational story.
Never one to shy away from harsh realities, Herren opened up to the site about the depths of his addictions and how they nearly ruined his career. He discussed forming a cocaine dependency back in his early teens and carrying it throughout college and during his time in the NBA. Chris described regularly getting high before games and, at his lowest point, overdosing in the front seat of his car.
Ultimately it was one of his famous teammates who set him on the right path. NBA alumnus Chris Mullin and his wife Liz came Herren’s rescue during those darkest hours.
“Liz and Chris Mullin reached out to me and gave me the greatest gift any family could give someone, a chance to get well,” Herren told CNN. “This crisis doesn’t discriminate. It’s in every community. It’s in every neighborhood. After that incident, my whole purpose became to break that stigma … and eliminate the rock bottoms.”
So, Chris went on to launch The Herren Project in 2011. The program recruits social workers to match addicts with the support that they need. Services include regular coaching sessions and financial assistance throughout the recovery process.
CNN went on to profile several individuals who were able to benefit from the Project. They all later became advocates themselves and proceeded to pay it forward. 885,000 people in all have been part of the program and that number continues to grow.
More recently, Chris has launched Project Purple which focuses on students who are struggling. This particular sect puts an emphasis on education and preventative tactics for teens and twenty-somethings across the country.
“It’s all about creating awareness, support, and community,” Herren concluded. “The scariest thing about kids, the scariest thing about addiction, is nobody knows who has it.”
To find out more about Chris’ inspirational Herren Project, click here.