Former NBA Player Shares Story With Tri-School Students and Parents
Former NBA basketball player Chris Herren visited Baltimore earlier this week for a special tri-school event. He spoke with all Upper School students at Gilman, Bryn Mawr and Roland Park Country School on the RPCS campus about his deeply personal journey from addiction to recovery, his mission to help others who may be struggling, and the importance of prevention. Specifically, Mr. Herren shared specific experiences that impacted his life as a teenager and athlete and how he battled his addiction for good more than 15 years ago. He talked about how he wished he had the skill set to navigate his adolescence and asked for help when he needed it, before turning his focus to the students.
“This is now your story,” he told the Upper Schoolers as he encouraged them to examine their sense of self-worth and self-esteem, resist peer pressure and think ahead to the consequences of their actions. “It’s also extremely important to surround yourself with good people.”
Mr. Herren also spoke about his love for speaking with high school students and hopes to help even just one person from each of his talks. “It’s an honor to do this,” he told the audience, before taking questions from the students. The night before, Mr. Herren shared his personal recovery story and discussed the responsibility of drug prevention with parents and guardians in the tri-school community at Gilman.
Mr. Herren was a high school basketball legend from Fall River, Massachusetts, who scored over 2,000 career points while at Durfee High School and was named to the 1994 McDonald’s All-American team. Starting his collegiate career at Boston College, Mr. Herren transferred to Fresno State after several failed drug tests, playing for legendary basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, known for giving second chances to players. He was named to the All-WAC first team in 1996 and 1997 before announcing that he would need miss part of the 97-98 season to seek treatment for an ongoing struggle with substance use disorder.
Mr. Herren realized his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA when he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1999, and then was traded to his hometown team, the Boston Celtics, in 2000. After suffering a season-ending injury as a Celtic, Mr. Herren went on to play in five countries including Italy, Poland, Turkey, China, and Iran.
We are deeply grateful to Pamela and Thomas O’Neil, GP’34, for generously funding this remarkable event. For 20 years, in memory of their son Christopher, the O’Neils have provided RPCS support for our peer health program to encourage the emotional and mental well-being of our students.