Former Celtic Chris Herren Turns Boston Purple



Boston's Prudential Center glowed purple to launch former NBA player Chris Herren's new campaign against teen drug abuse. (Photo: Purple Project/Facebook)
BOSTON — If you're wondering why parts of the Boston skyline glowed purple this week, we have your answer. Project Purple, an effort to rescue kids from the ravages of substance abuse, launched on Tuesday night. This initiative is the brainchild of someone whose own life was derailed by addiction.

Just a year ago, Greater Boston interviewed Celtics star Chris Herren, whose basketball career came to a halt when heroin abuse took over his life. He recounted his descent into hell and recovery in the book Basketball Junkie, and he traveled around the country talking about it.

"I'm on campus. I open my dorm room." Herren said. "There's two young girls sitting in my dorm room with my room mate, chopping up lines of cocaine. I've never seen cocaine, never touched cocaine. The two girls say, 'Chris just come sit down. It's no big deal. It's not going to hurt you.' I said, 'No thank you.' She said, 'I promise it's not going to hurt you. Nothing's going to happen.' I turned around, sat down in the chair, grabbed a dollar bill, snorted my first line of cocaine. That day I decided to snort cocaine, at 18 years old, opened doors for me I was not able to close for the next 15 years."

Then a strange thing happened on the way through his book tour. Herren's life became the subject of an ESPN documentary, and his story became the inspiration for young kids struggling with substance abuse.

Project Purple comes from The Herren Project, a non-profit foundation established by Chris Herren that assists individuals and families struggling with addiction. Visit their website to see the creative ways kids are sporting the color purple and get your own purple kit.

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