Thursday, November 10, 2011


The other night the manfriend and I watched an amazing documentary called Unguarded from ESPN's 30 for 30 series about basketball player, Chris Herren. I believe Unguarded's director, Jonathan Hock puts it perfectly when he says, "It's the way of most sports stories to show how a life's meaning can be found on the athletic field, how dedication to the game can provide redemption and honor. But sometimes talent is a mixed blessing, and the measure of an individual ultimately can't be taken by wins and losses."

Chris Herren was a high school basketball sensation from the small town,  Fall River, Massachusetts. He was a local hero, and he took that very seriously, feeling he needed to prove himself, he had to make it big, for his family, for his town.  Out of high school Chris went on to play for Boston College, Fresno State, was then drafted into to the NBA, playing for the Denver Nuggets, later traded to the Boston Celtics, and finished his basketball career playing on five different teams overseas. Now from just reading that sentence you would probably think this documentary is a success story about a small town kid making it big, you would be wrong.

The story of Chris Herren is the story of a kid who did in fact make it big but also dives into the much bigger story in Chris' life, his addiction to drugs and alcohol, which would basically cause him to lose everything that mattered to him. His addiction got him suspended from games, thrown into the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons, kicked off of teams, it caused him to overdose 4 times, it got him arrested, he lost everything which included basketball and was on the brink of losing what mattered most, his family. This documentary takes you on a wild decade long ride, that Chris endured. Some of the stories you'll hear during this documentary, seem so unreal, it is some riveting stuff.

This documentary ultimately turns into a story of hope as it takes you on Chris' journey of sobriety, which is now three years and counting. While also taking a crazy look back on his life, and seeing what this young man struggled with daily. Maybe it was in him losing everything, the game he loved and most importantly family, that Chris found a way to turn his life around. This documentary shows us that sometimes gaining it all doesn't result in huge success, but finding, through struggle what your true calling is.

Unguarded is a must see documentary, I was glued to the television. To be perfectly honest there were some parts of the documentary that were very hard for me to watch, I had tears streaming down my face. Maybe it's because my guy plays basketball for a living, is from a small city similar to Fall River, Massachusetts and at one point in his career he got into some trouble, definitely not as crazy as Chris' story but similar in some ways. It was hard to watch because I know how much pressure my guy puts on himself to succeed, and I know it isn't always for himself, it's for me, his family, our friends, our hometown, that kind of pressure can cause people to crack.

If you have the time, definitely check out, Unguarded, I promise you it will not disappoint, it will actually motivate you. Below is a short segment from the documentary, showing you just how insane this story is. Chris Herren also has a book out called, Basketball Junkie: A Memoir, that takes an even deeper look into Chris' life. My guy read it and had nothing but amazing things to say about it, I am looking forward to reading it myself. 

1 comment:

Erhard said...

Chris Herren was a high school basketball sensation from the small town, ...

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