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Basketball Junkie: A Memoir Paperback – May 8, 2012
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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)
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"Chris Herren's "Basketball Junkie" is the story of what happens when a town and a family pressure a favorite son to embody their dreams, which turn out to be his nightmare. If a book can be both anguished and celebratory, this is it. Herren's account of his descent into hell and back show that beyond the bench pressing and the sprints and all the other prep work that help to create an athlete, in the end, character-building is the one drill that really matters."--Madeleine Blais, "New York Times" bestselling author of "In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle"
"What a story. If you read a sports book - no, any book - that sticks in your head longer than "Basketball Junkie" this year please let me know. This was a walk down a long, dark street to places that most of us have never been. Who knew there was a regulation basketball court in the ninth circle of hell? Fascinating."--Leigh Montville, "New York Times" bestselling author of "Ted Williams" and "Evel: The High Flying Life of,
Top Customer Reviews
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".Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a good book Everyone should read since it has good messages and is very fascinating. Gives good insight into addictionPublished 26 days ago by Matthew D Dorsey
Great book! I bought it as a gift for my husband and he could not put the book down.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great Read! Especially if your a parent with children playing sports! Very enlightening and thought provoking. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Chris Herren came to my school and talked about drug abuse and how it could change your world. It could make the difference between making millions to making nothing. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Kristin Connors
waste of my time and money. Only bought it for school or else i never wouldn't bothered. I couldn't even finish it.Published 15 months ago by carley kelley