Chris Herren Assembly

On Thursday, May 30, 2019, Chris Herren a former NBA player visited Wayne Valley High School. The freshman and sophomores met in the auditorium with not many expectations of the assembly. They all had been thinking the same things: this would be another assembly that just listed facts from powerpoints about why alcohol and drugs are bad. It’s fair to say, however, that once the assembly began, the students were attentively listening. Right from the beginning, the students felt that this would be a different talk. When asked, most students said that this assembly scared them, to be honest, the students needed to be scared straight. There was no joking around in this assembly. The guest speaker, Chris Herren, spoke to the students about his own personal stories as well as accounts from the students that he had spoken to in the past, and how he made an impact on their lives.

Chris Herren, raised in Fall River, Massachusetts was a highschool basketball champion. He scored over 2,000 career points while at Durfee High School and was later named to the 1994 McDonald’s All-American team. After, he attended Boston College, where his basketball career started to take off. After failing several drug tests, he was transferred to Fresno State after and started to play for basketball coach, Jerry Tarkanian. Jerry is known for giving second chances to players, and he believed that Herren could change. Herren was later named to the All-WAC first team in 1996 and 1997. He soon announced that he would need to miss part of the 1997-1998 season to finally attack his substance abuse issues and attempt to get his life back on track. Chris finally reached his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA, when he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1999. He was later traded to his hometown team, the Boston Celtics, in 2000. After suffering an injury that took him out for the season, he went on to play in five countries including Poland, China, Turkey, Italy, and Iran. After all of the time he spent playing and devoting his life to basketball, he decided that reaching out to children about why they should try to seek help was more important than a few trophies. He put his basketball life on halt and started traveling to a surplus of schools and sports teams to share his story. Chris has been sober since August 1, 2008, and to this day, he is battling his addiction one day at a time.

Chris Herren is the creator of the Herren Project, which is a nonprofit organization focused on treatment, recovery, and prevention of substance abuse. He has helped over 1 million people through his visits to various schools. Chris Herren’s unique perspective caused several students to start crying about something they rarely talk about. They felt sympathy for all people going through these situations, and they recognized how serious this issue is. This hit a cord in some students who had seen friends, family, and sometimes even themselves go through very similar times. Herren had used his own experiences and words to bring light to the side of the story that is never talked about: the first day that everything starts, and not the last. Herren completely got through with the students and showed how everything can be taken away in an instant. Chris currently has two books written about his journey, Fall River Dreams, by Bill Reynolds, and his own memoir entitled, Basketball Junkie. Read more about his journey or learn more about his program at,