Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Must Read of the Week: Basketball Junkie
The interesting thing about how this book found me, is that I'm no NBA fan. I'm not a basketball fan, never have been, so I've no clue who Chris Herren is. When this book was sent to me, I glanced at it and told myself I'd get to it. I never researched Chris Herren prior to reading it, and I'm happy I didn't. Not knowing this kid's talent made the tale all the more heartwrenching.
This is a brutal depiction of addicition. This is a kid who had the world in front of him and just squandered it while pursuing heroin, cocaine, Oxycontin. Because he could play ball while doped on coke, Chris thought he could get through anything, but he ultimately lost his career, his family, and, seemingly, any chance at redemption.
It wasn't the ODs, his flirtation with actual death, or his demise in basketball that slapped the sense into him. No, it was the knowledge that he had to let his family go that really did the trick. To read it on the pages of the book is enough to send a shockwave into the emotional core of the reader.
This book makes no pretense. Herren does not claim to be victimized, he never apologizes for his action, and seemingly he doesn't make bones or harbor regret. In a self loathing way, Herren tells his tale and claims that it was one of the best things that happened to him - "you have to fall in order to pick yourself up". It's true, of course, but this is one serious drop.
Outstanding, raw, honest, and eye-opening.
4 out of 5