Former NBA player asks students ‘Why?’

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On Jan. 29, Babylon Junior-Senior High School welcomed Chris Herren, former NBA player turned motivational speaker, for two presentations at the school. One was offered during school hours for ninth-12th grade students, and the other was hosted during the evening so families and community members could join.

Herren lost his basketball career and almost his family to his struggle with drug addiction before achieving sobriety in 2008. Since then, he has spoken to more than 1 million people around the world in hopes of awakening them to the grave consequences of substance abuse. Members of the Babylon community listened in silence as Herren detailed his past with intense honesty and solemnness.

Herren focused his talks on “the first day, not just the worst day.” In other words, he not only highlighted the “rock bottom” that is often discussed in similar conversations, but also examined the ways in which drug abuse begins. He encouraged students to ponder “the why”: that is, “why” young people feel compelled to alter themselves with drugs in the first place.

Herren then responded to audience questions and offered his nonprofit “Herren Project” as a resource to anyone struggling with issues related to substance abuse. All in attendance for both events were deeply moved by Herren’s powerful and emotional words, and a palpable sense of reflection filled the auditorium.

The district truly appreciates and thanks Dennis Murphy, district director of guidance services, for bringing Herren to the Babylon community and for coordinating the day and evening events with other district leaders.