Rex Chapman’s book chronicling drug addiction battle was written for his kids

Mar 6, 2024, 10:24 AM | Updated: 3:30 pm

Rex Chapman might now be known as a social media influencer, a label he laughs off. Back from his 12-year NBA career, Phoenix Suns fans probably best remember him for that game-tying fadeaway three-pointer against the Seattle Supersonics in the 1997 playoffs.

In between those eras of his life, Chapman battled a drug addition that he chronicles in his newly released memoir, “It’s Hard for Me to Live with Me.”

Chapman, who has spoken openly about his addiction challenges for the past decade, teamed with sportswriter Seth Davis to tell his story to the public at a broader scale.

He told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Wednesday that his drive was to reach his children and those close to him — people he disappointed. Chapman was arrested in 2014 for shoplifting from an Apple Store in Arizona, and that was the turning point for him to seek further help.

“When I got in trouble here in the Valley … that was 10 years ago and our oldest child (Suns video coordinator Zeke Chapman), who you guys know, he was 20. And our youngest was roughly 10,” Chapman said of why he co-wrote the book. “I embarrassed them. I embarrassed myself, my family, my friends … and my friends’ kids who looked up to me.

“I wanted to try to show my kids a better me and try to explain a little bit of where I’ve been.”

Chapman, who played for the Suns from 1996-2000 at the end of his NBA career, said he first landed in rehab shortly after. He said he was eating 40-50 painkillers a day and fought through that addiction through the 2014 arrest.

Once he got his addiction under control after that point, Chapman began opening up about his struggles. Feedback showed him how much of an impact he’s had.

For instance, Chapman was picking up his dog from a care facility in Kentucky when an older women approached him in tears. She said a recent appearance of Chapman on a podcast had given her and her adult son, who was battling an addiction, some form of hope.

“That kind of reaction … I think it’s a little gratifying,” Chapman said.

Everyone has their own addiction story, he said. It didn’t matter that he was a wealthy, former pro athlete with injuries.

“It doesn’t matter how you got there, whether you came by it honestly, so-to-speak, or you went out on a three-day bender and you’re hooked,” Chapman said. “You’re there now. It doesn’t matter how you got there, you are there. And now you gotta get out. It’s all the same trying to get out.”


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