Book tip: Basketball Junkie: A Memoir

Chris Herren and Bill Reynolds

St. Martin's Press

While I was interested in the story of Chris Herren, who went from basketball God in Fall River, Mass., to Boston Celtic, I was reluctant to pick it up because it's also the story of addiction, which makes it not exactly a breezy summer read. But I gave it a shot, and couldn't put it down.

The book is great on two levels. First, there's the basketball, as Herren travels from high school, to college, to the NBA, to leagues all over the world. Herren offers us an inside look at the world of college athletics, and it's not always pretty.

And then there's Herren's journey from addiction to sobriety, which is much uglier. Booze. Cocaine. OxyContin. Heroin. Bottom came when he crashed his car into a telephone pole with heroin as his passenger. But Herren keeps this from being a sad tale of what could have been by exhibiting no self-pity. In the end you'll find yourself rooting harder for him than if he were still wearing the green and gold.

- Tim Cotter

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