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Chris Herren addresses students

Chris Herren, the former point guard for the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets, now a motivational speaker, addressed the BL community on Thursday. Herren's dramatic story is full of extreme highs and lows: a star basketball player in high school and college, he was selected as the 33rd overall pick in the 1999 NBA draft, only to have his career cut short by a crippling addiction to drugs and alcohol. After several overdoses and a near-fatal car crash, he entered recovery and ultimately became a prolific speaker, sharing his story as a cautionary tale in front of crowds worldwide. Herren's visit, his third stop at BL in the past decade, was widely anticipated by students and staff alike. In the past, Herren told a detailed version of his story of addiction and recovery. This time, his speech focused more on the boys in the audience than on his own experiences.
 
"Over the last twelve years, I’ve dedicated most of my life to traveling around the world as a guest speaker," said Herren, as he scanned the crowd in the Iglehart Gym, seemingly locking eyes with every individual, "I truly believe in my heart that it’s made a difference for some of you."
 
His stated goal was to compel just one student to reconsider his relationship to drugs and alcohol. “Please God, just one kid,” he said, “If I can help one, it’s worth it.”
 
He called on the boys to look beyond the end of the journey with drugs and alcohol and focus on how it started. He challenged them to make choices in their own lives and discussed how they could make a difference in the lives of their friends, classmates and teammates
 
Students in grades 8-12 attended the assembly and many of them were deeply affected by Herren's words. In debriefing sessions, held in each advisory the following day, students shared their responses. "I felt like he was talking directly to me," said one sophomore, "The way he kept talking about the things he thought when he was in high school - it made me feel like he was reading my mind."

Chris Herren's website Herren Talks offers more information about his career, his recovery, and his public speaking.