Chris Herren at Nashoba

Chris Herren came to Nashoba earlier in the month and left the student body stunned


Mark Puleo, Contributing Editor

This past month, former local basketball hero and fallen hoops star Chris Herren came to speak to a packed Nashoba auditorium. A former prep star at Durfee High School in Fall River, Herren’s difficult journey with substance abuse began during his freshman year at Boston College. His riveting life story hit everyone in the audience and impacted students in so many ways.

The most impactful part of Herren’s story was how powerfully he connected it to each and every student at Nashoba. Whether there were jocks, artists, singers, performers, or teachers in the audience, Herren’s message was applicable. The simple life of partying which he enjoyed in high school morphed into a catastrophic life of near-death experiences, ruined relationships, bankruptcy, and failure due to misuse of prescription medications and heroin.

In an exclusive interview following the presentation, the Chieftain Press was able to dig deeper into Herren’s life and things he wished could’ve gone differently.


Chieftain Press: You mentioned during your story how during your rookie year you had great veterans like Nick van Exel and Antonio McDyess with you at all times, how important is it to have leaders like that one’s life?

Chris Herren: I think it’s extremely important, I had never been a part of a team unit like that, people who were willing to sacrifice themselves for the betterment of someone like me. I think that’s what’s missing in so many young people’s lives. Every kid needs someone who is willing to sacrifice and take a stand for them.

CP: Despite all the tragedy, can you pull out and recall any great positive moments from your time spent in Boston?

CH: Today. Today is the positive. Moments like this are what I live for. I want to be doing this, there are millions of people like me, but I’ve been blessed to be able to share my story to save others from going down the same road.


Chris Herren’s powerful life journey left the hundreds of students in attendance in pure silence. Herren travels around the country speaking to high schoolers, pro athletes, and leaders about his life and what he would change if given the chance. For our high school audience, he focused most strongly on the aspect of high school parties. Perceived to be harmless, those high school parties, the red solo cups and the marijuana, are what set Herren on his life-ruining spin, he claimed. “Not every kid who smokes a joint or takes a sip of alcohol is going to go to heroin, cocaine, and oxy,” said Herren. “But no one starts at heroin, cocaine, or oxy. No one starts drinking and smoking with the intentions to get there. But look where I was.” His speech included stories of other students who had come up to him following his presentations and their struggles and their triumphs.

Not only did he speak of his struggles and his pains, but he also spoke of the forgiveness given unto him and the amazing support he had which helped him get through. His story certainly touched on the drug’s brutalities, but also touched on the light at the end of the troublesome tunnel. He repeatedly spoke of how the addiction is beatable and how so many other students around the country are beating the problem and recovering. The main emphasis of his message was about staying true to yourself. And after his amazing presentation, Nashoba students walked away with that message loud and clear.