In many ways, Chris Herren's journey has resembled the path of a roller coaster, filled with both incredible highs and lows.
On Tuesday night, Herren continued his ascension back to the top when he was honored as the "Hero Among Us" during the Celtics-Heat game, the Boston Herald reports.
"It's a special night," he said. "It's kind of closing one chapter and opening another in a sense. It's all for an amazing cause and hopefully kids see this and say that they either want to change or to keep doing the right thing."
Herren, 36, played 25 games for the Celtics in 2000-01, before drug problems forced the Fall River, Mass., native into an early retirement after just two NBA seasons.
But he has been sober for the past four years, according to the Herald, and his contributions to Project Purple — a substance abuse awareness foundation Herren started last year — earned him recognition by the Celtics' "Heroes Among Us" program.
"I thought his story was great," said Miami Heat All-Star Dwyane Wade. "I thought him being here and being able to tell it was even greater. My mom and my family have been through some of the struggles as well so it kind of hit close to home."
Herren said he took his short stint with the Celtics for granted the first time around, but that he is "cherishing every moment of this."
"Four years ago, the reality is I couldn't pay my own electrical bill," he said. "Four years later, now we're lighting the city of Boston up."