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As he begins speaking about his 15 years of substance abuse, one wonders whether maybe he was meant for this. Maybe destiny caused him to squander a basketball career that held so much promise. Maybe the world needed a former professional athlete a McDonald All American, a top 10 recruit, a point guard for the Boston Celtics with the courage to share his harrowing story, the eloquence to tell it well, and the platform to make sure it echoes from one community to the next.

Or maybe luck, and nothing else, allowed Herren to escape from several meetings with death, including four drug overdoses.wholesale jerseys from china Learning how to say no to pills, to heroin, to whatever else saved his life. Now he’s trying to save others.

started out on this mission four years ago, he said Thursday afternoon at Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, where he has been wowed by students’ willingness to collaborate against drugs. the mission was to share this story in hopes of preventing one kid from going down the road I took. In hopes of preventing mom and dad from watching that child go down that road. an hour long speech about substance abuse, inner peace and methods to stay away from drugs, Herren credited his turnaround to the moment when a counselor told him he should fake dead so his children could grow up without their father holding them back. Herren said he has lived sober for the six years since. For the last four years, he has toured the country to speak publicly about substance abuse.

The 38 year old chose to appear at Putnam because a group of students, after hearing him at the Basketball Hall of Fame, brought his Project Purple initiative to the school halls. Nicholas Claudio, Gianna Rodriguez and Nate Rivera, plus football coach and dean of students Bill Scott, have been credited with spearheading the movement.

T shirts bearing Herren’s name and symbolizing his message became regular sights. The state championship winning basketball team wore the shirts as warmup jerseys and publicly championed the fight against substance abuse.

“We just want to show him that he’s not alone in standing up. And we want to show others that athletes, too, support the substance abuse awareness. And we just want to make sure everyone notices that as big time athletes, you can overcome hardships and struggles, so that means anybody can do it,” said senior Jonathan Garcia, a star guard on the basketball team. “A couple of our friends went down and watched him at the Hall of Fame, and they came back with the idea of bringing Project Purple to Putnam. They brought it to me and the other captains last year, David Murrell and Dizel Wright, and we were on board. We just jumped right on with it.”

Said Herren: never spoke here (before Thursday). These kids took this project and ran with it. And when I heard about all the work they were doing, I was like: there. I get a speaker fee to come here and I just gave it back to the school for what they do. I mean, this is crazy. Walking in the gym and seeing that many kids in purple t shirts, there nothing better than that. It the most active Project Purple school that I been to physically, which is a testament not only to our foundation, but a testament to the kids and also the need. shared several stories about changes he has inspired. One girl stopped cutting herself with razor blades and grew the courage to deal with her alcoholic father. Two students who attended a speech with suicide notes in their pockets decided not to go through with killing themselves. Herren receives feedback every day from people who take strength from his story. He says if he could go back in time and stay away from drugs, he would decline the opportunity. The only thing he would change about his story, he said, is that he would spare his children the pain.

God for the Celtics. Thank God for them. The Celtics have given me a platform,” Herren said. “All the time I spent busting my tail to become a basketball player did not pay off in basketball. encouraged students to watch who they hang out with. He pushed them to become comfortable with themselves instead of turning to substances for an escape. He stood before them as proof addiction can overtake anyone, even the strongest and toughest competitors. Drugs don see faces, ages or accomplishments. They can topple anyone, even the bright, good looking guy who scored 2,000 points in high school and went on to play point guard for his hometown NBA team.

seen (a documentary about Herren journey) on ESPN, said Garcia, this is the first time I ever seen him in person. After seeing the speech, it makes me think. I have friends that use and abuse drugs, and I going to speak up because I don want to see them go down that road.