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Basketball Junkie: A Memoir Paperback – May 8, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this blunt, self-deprecating memoir, Herren tells his story as one of the greatest high school athletes to come out of southern New England. Fall River, Mass., has a storied basketball tradition, and Herren's achievements on the court made him a local hero as well as bringing him to the attention of national recruiters and Sports Illustrated. Overwhelmed by expectations, Herren avoided school and abused drugs and alcohol. Although Herren managed to make it to the NBA, his life continued to spin out of control until he OD'd in his car and was found unconscious with a bag of heroin on the seat beside him. Herren offers explanations for his downfall but doesn't make excuses. Neither does he glorify the partying and excess that made his life a blur. What he does achieve is something more valuable: giving a stark portrayal of the surreal existence led by young sports stars in a world of rapacious agents, vicious rivals, oblivious fans, and educational institutions that enable their "student" athletes to get away with almost anything. In the end, this is a sobering, cautionary tale for star-athletes-to-be. (May)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"A sobering, cautionary tale for star-athletes-to-be." ---Publishers Weekly --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250006899
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250006899
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Herren, a basketball legend from Fall River, Massachusetts, realized his dreams by playing for the Celtics in the NBA, only to lose it all to addiction before rising again with a new dream.

Herren's basketball dreams began as a 6'2" guard at Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts. A member of the Durfee High School team chronicled in Bill Reynold's book, Fall River Dreams, Herren excelled on the basketball court becoming one of the top Division 1 prospects in the country.

Herren's basketball success concealed a darker side, and his dream soon became a nightmare of addiction--first alcohol, then cocaine, finally heroin. A chaotic and often uncertain college career plagued by drugs and rehab led to the NBA.

In 1999 he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the NBA Draft as the 33rd pick overall. After a year with the Nuggets, Chris was traded to the Boston Celtics where he suffered a season ending injury.

Trying to work his way back to the NBA, Herren played overseas until 2003 when he came back to the States. His alcohol and drug use escalated until he was found unconscious with a heroin needle hanging from his arm in the driver's seat of his car.

After extensive rehabilitation stays, Chris has been drug-free since June 4, 2008, and alcohol-free since August 1, 2008. Herren has refocused his life and dreams to put his sobriety and family above all else.

In June of 2009, Chris launched a basketball player development company, Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren, Inc. Off the court he continues to share his story with audiences in the hopes of reaching just one person and making a difference in their life.

Customer Reviews

I had never heard of Chris Herren before this book.
Christopher R. Horton
In both the book and his talks, he seems to speak from the heart in a way people both young and old can truly appreciate and understand.
I could not put this book down once I started reading it.
Priscilla A. Griffith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By EJ on March 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For some reason I've been reading quite a few memoirs lately about people who crash and burn due to addiction and then make it back out of the cesspool. There is a potential hazard with serial reading like this, as there is a risk of all of these stories starting to jumble together. However, I needn't have worried in this case, as Chris Herren presents a searing and brutally honest telling of his epic downfall from NBA player to junkie.

This memoir follows Herren from his well-documented time as a high school basketball star to his college and professional playing days in the NBA as well as overseas. This provides a glimpse into what the life of a college and professional athlete can be like underneath all of the perks. Although Herren never lets himself off the hook for his misdeeds, at times he does seem to be an apologist for others such as Jerry Tarkanian, who depending on your point of view is either Sports' Spawn of Satan or a man who believed in second chances.

In this book more than any other similar tome that I've read recently, I got the sense that this was a story that Herren absolutely had to tell, though he is so incredibly upfront about his various misdeeds that I almost suspect he may be punishing himself for his past transgressions. It has a feel of atonement. He makes no excuses; he blames no one other than himself. I admire that. And while I was concerned at first that this might be another case of an athlete staying sober for a month and calling it a recovery, by the end of the story it seems clear to me that after two years in recovery, Herren has all the tools in place to make it.

The overall message of this book is not just "hey kids, don't do drugs".
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Bill Reynolds' "Fall River Dreams" made Chris Herren a national celebrity when he was just sixteen; but this was just one more pressure on an impressionable youth. Already a teen delinquent in a no-hope town, where only the basketball team bound the community, even the adults pinned their aspirations of Herren's college and NBA careers. But the pressure, frustration, and despair manifested in the form of several abusive, self-destructive addictions.

Seventeen years after Herren reached stardom, this memoir recounts how his demons became the center of his life. He achieved the heights of stardom, playing under Jerry Tarkanian before the NBA draft. His paychecks soared so high that he lost more in one card game than I make per year. But everything paled for Herren beside his hunger for the next fix. Piece by piece, he lost everything that mattered.

Herren's brutal honesty regarding his long string of bad choices recreates his horrific experience. As he repeatedly makes bad bets and pins his hopes on false promises, we feel life's weight mounting as relentlessly as Herren must have. And when he finally hits rock bottom, sees everything he still stands to lose, and chooses to pull his life back together, we feel the same weight lifted off our own shoulders.

Unfortunately, we can see Herren's lack of experience in writing. Reynolds' prologue says that Herren seldom read in high school, and this book suggests he hasn't remedied that much since.
For instance, consider the really short paragraphs.
They accumulate.
The f***ing language gets distracting.
He makes "you" the center of many of his anecdotes, like he's deflecting.
And all his rhetorical questions?
Don't even get me started.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Christopher R. Horton on June 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I had never heard of Chris Herren before this book. Being a major basketball fan of both the NBA and Collegiate Hoops I was intrigued by the book after listening to Herren give an interview on Dan Patrick's radio show.

The book didn't disappoint as Herren and Reynolds are excellent storytellers.

Herren emerged as the local star after replacing his brother as the family standout. He gained national attention from major college programs while becoming a superstar in high school and on AAU squads competing at the national level.

During all of this success he was doing drugs, drinking, failing classes and disrespecting any adult in his life including his parents and his coaches. This leads to the downward spiral he would exist in for the remainder of his basketball career.

I don't want to go into too much detail as the book is worth reading for yourself, but I was amazed at how much his teams, coaches and schools would put up with just because he was a star athlete. I was also amazed at the fact that he could play and function on the basketball court while being high or drunk.

I couldn't relate to that side of his story but I did relate with his reflections on the basketball side of things. His description of his hatred for losing and how his body would be tormented in any way possible in order to avoid the feeling of losing was something I too went through in high school. In fact, my body is a mess now and I regret living that way. He described how his teammates tolerated him but probably didn't really like playing with him in high school, and I am certain that was probably the feeling that my teammates had towards me.

This book isn't uplifting or encouraging by any means.
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