Generally speaking, Chris Washburn had the world in his hands but let it circle the drain in search of his next high. The North Carolina State product was the No. 3 overall pick of Golden State in the 1986 draft, taken well ahead of future NBA stars Ron Harper, Mark Price and Dennis Rodman.
Washburn played just 72 total games in the NBA with the Warriors and Hawks before receiving a lifetime suspension from the association for his drug addiction. He was a castaway the next nine years playing overseas.
After spending a few more years on the streets, Washburn recently returned to his hometown of Hickory, North Carolina, to sell chicken wings. The can't-miss kid, who did, now runs "Washburn's Wings and More" with his girlfriend Monique Richardson.
But what's interesting is that the location is where Chris used to abuse dope. "I would sit right here and do my drugs," Washburn told the Charlotte Observer. "This was a good spot for it."
Washburn's love of drugs landed him in prison for two years in the mid 1990's for crack cocaine possession. He told the Hickory Daily Record that the prison guards mocked him for wasting his basketball gifts and ending up behind bars.
Living in Houston, Washburn became homeless thanks to his habit. "I had the money but the only person I was paying was my crack dealer and I was making him rich," he said. "I ate out of trash cans. I panhandled. I went into stores and I boosted. I lived that way for about two years."
Meanwhile, aware of her son's drug addiction, Savannah Washburn handed out a painful piece of advice to her son.
"She told me to put my name and address on a piece of paper in my pocket so the police could identify me when they found my dead body somewhere," Washburn told the Hickory Daily Record.
Nevertheless, Chris swears he's cleaned up his ways and been drug free for 12 years and he did it all on his own.
"I matured. I finally got older. I got tired of asking people for $5 or $10," he said. "I was tired of being broke. It seemed like overnight I lost the taste for drugs -- I lost the obsession ... A lot of folks forget that I made my mistakes at 20, 25, 30 years old and I'm 45 now -- I'm a new man," Washburn said.
Washburn has been in and out of 14 drug rehab clinics, but says it was his father's death in 2000 that pushed him down the right path in life to help support his mother.
Although he's off drugs, Washburn says he's got other things to work on, such as building a relationship with his two sons Julian and Chris Jr. who are both part of UTEP's basketball program.
Weight has also been a problem for the 6-foot-11 former bust. Washburn weighs 440 pounds and was almost part of NBC's "Biggest Loser" reality TV show last year, but the Observer reports he failed to make the final cut. He's hoping to lose the extra weight.
In addition to the chicken wing joint, Washburn lives off checks he still gets from the NBA retirement and pension fund every month.
-- Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
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