For Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, this was unlike any of the usual mandatory meetings that the players sit through during training camp.
Doughty and his teammates were riveted by an in-person, human drama -- the rise, fall and continuing recovery of former NBA player Chris Herren. The point guard’s NBA career was derailed by addictions and painkillers and some of the Kings knew his story, familiar with “Unguarded,” an ESPN documentary.
“He obviously went through a lot and to share that story with us took a lot of courage,” Doughty said Friday after practice.
“He definitely had everyone zoned in. You’ll go through some other meetings -- whatever it may be -- and people are paying attention to other things or not really listening.
“When someone is telling you face to face, their own story, what they went through and what their family went through, it really hits home.”
Herren spoke to them Thursday and Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said it carried “a powerful message.” The move to bring in Herren was part of the organization’s effort to further educate its players in the aftermath of two drug-related arrests in the off-season of former Kings centers Jarret Stoll and Mike Richards.
Kings center Anze Kopitar said Herren’s story was “deep and very emotional” and had an impact.
“The story is told better from the actual guy,” Kopitar said. “Not from doctors … it’s a lot more emotional and heartbreaking. You feel like you’re more part of a story.
“There were a couple of times throughout the story, you could tell he had to hold back, not to start crying. He tells that story about 350 times a year and still feels that effect just like he’s telling it for the first time.”