Chris Herren Rumors
Chris Herren made it from the coastal city of Fall River to his home team, the Boston Celtics. His path was paved with stints in rehab as he struggled with escalating abuse of substances ranging from alcohol to cocaine, crystal meth and heroin. From the early promise chronicled in “Fall River Dreams” by Bill Reynolds, a look at Herren’s high school basketball team to “Basketball Junkie,” Herren’s 2011 memoir and the ESPN film “Unguarded,” Herren’s life has been well-documented. On Monday, he will share that story in Greenfield. The talk, free and open to the public, is scheduled for 4 p.m. in the Greenfield Community College dining commons, in the main building at 1 College Drive.
Chris Herren was about to make his second appearance as a CSN color commentator, working last night’s game against the Hawks. The Fall River native and former Celtic was asked if doing this kind of work on a more regular basis is something that interests him. “Hey, one day at a time, you know? That’s how it goes,” he said, breaking into a laugh with his questioner. The phrase is familiar for those who, like Herren, have gone to war with substance issues. And while all involved therein know the battle doesn’t end, the quick wit displayed by Herren will serve him well as he enters the broadcasting field. “It is something that obviously I’m intrigued by,” he said before going on the air with Mike Gorman and fellow special commentator Ainge. “What’s nice is it gives me a break from what I do on a daily basis addressing substance abuse. It kind of gives me another outlet and another avenue. So it’s great for myself, it’s great for my family and it’s great to be part of the Celtics again.”
Greg Dickerson, Donny Marshall, and Gary Tanguay won’t be part of the network’s Celtics coverage this season, while president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Chris Herren are slated to fill in as color analysts on at least a couple of occasions.
Cody Zeller said the highlight of the program was former NBA player Chris Herren speaking on his years of drug addiction. Herren had seven felonies on his record, all drug-related, including an arrest for possession of heroin. “Chris Herren’s story was amazing,” Zeller said in a phone interview Friday. “I thought the program was great in that they were very candid about how people have messed up as rookies. And we all got a chance to develop relationships with people who can look out for us.”
Legendary players such as Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar passed along tales of their exploits in the NBA, while another former player, Chris Herren, explained how his career was derailed because of a dependency on drugs. Beal had heard about Herren’s fall when Florida Coach Billy Donovan invited Herren to share his story with the team last season, but the message still resonated. “It’s a powerful story and it helps you actually realize how valuable life is,” Beal said, adding that the entire crash course was informative, especially after just signing a deal that will pay him $4.13 million this season. “I think the biggest thing I’m taking from this, how to handle your finances. Because you hear a lot about people possibly going bankrupt when they’re out of the NBA.”
Just as Beal doesn’t plan to get ahead of himself as it relates to money, he also doesn’t plan to arrive at George Mason University for his first official NBA practice with any preconceived notions about his role on the team. “I want to just come in and try to earn everything. I don’t want anything given to me. I want to earn everything and show these guys that I’m a hard worker and I’m a winner,” Beal said. “You know we have a young team, but we have a few vets as well and I just want to come in and try to set the tone and try to get this team back on a winning pace.”
I typed the last few sentences of my column about the recovery of former NBA player and heroin addict Chris Herren on Thursday while sitting at my kitchen table. I read it one final time, cleaning up a couple of clunky paragraphs. Then, I filed it and moved on. This is how it works. I don’t look back. I file. I’m done. It’s a strange feeling to dart toward the next column, asking “What’s next?” knowing that by the time the first column reaches you it’s faded behind me as I chase the next. Two days later, I’m standing against the rail at the roller-skating rink at Oaks Park, text messaging a 24-year-old heroin addict. And as my legs go numb, I realize that we never really know what’s next.