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Rex Chapman reflects on role Rick Pitino played in his recovery

Rex Chapman isn’t afraid to talk about his past. Throughout the past few months, the former Wildcat has repeatedly opened up about his personal struggles with addiction and his transformation into a “Block or Charge” social media star in conversations with ESPN and Ryan McGee, Fox Sports and Shannon Spake, and national sports radio host Dan Patrick, just to name a few.

Now, Chapman has linked up with Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson on their podcast The Steam Room, and he’s opening up in a whole new way. In the podcast’s latest episode – which dropped over the weekend – Chapman reflects on how one Rick Pitino has helped him overcome his demons.

When Chapman is asked about the lowest point of his life, he points to being arrested after shoplifting at an Apple Store in Arizona in 2014. Just the memory is painful enough to nearly bring Chapman to tears. Still, Chapman says without a moment like that – something that made him say ‘hey, you’ve got to get ahold of this’ to himself – he “probably wouldn’t be here right now.” That’s when he made the decision to turn things around for himself. It wasn’t easy; he says he lived on friends’ couches or in his own car for a couple of years.

That’s when Chapman says Rick Pitino visited him, sat him down, and told him something he’s never forgotten: “keep doing the next right thing.”

“Rick has been through his stuff, and he said listen: get through this stage. Just know that over the next few years, you’re going to eat a lot of shit,” Chapman recalls on the podcast. “At first, it’s going to feel like it’s the size of a beach ball. Keep doing the next right thing, and it’s going to go down and be the size of a basketball, then a softball and a baseball and a ping pong ball. If you keep doing the next right thing.”

“For whatever reason, it stuck with me,” Chapman continues. “It helped me get through those early days. I’ve just tried to dedicate the last five years to doing the next right thing, showing my kids a better me.”

Chapman has always been vocal about his fondness for Pitino, including on Twitter on Sept. 27, 2017, the day Pitino and then-Athletic Director Tom Jurich were effectively fired by Louisville.

Chapman touches on several other topics throughout the trio’s lengthy conversation, including a hilarious story about his struggles with doing his own laundry (or not doing his own laundry) during his early NBA days.

The hour-long podcast is available in its entirety here:

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

6 Comments for Rex Chapman reflects on role Rick Pitino played in his recovery

  1. KYCat4EVER
    7:21 pm July 19, 2020 Permalink

    Thank you for the excellent story Rex.

    I’m very proud of you for overcoming a tough time in your life, and sharing the effort and guidance Coach Pitino gave you. It needs to be told and you took the time and courage to share it!

    It’s more than evident Coach Pitino’s ability to reach out and take lives (yours and others) and programs in despair(1989 UK-97), mold and guide people, and bring them back better
    people and programs than what they were!

    God Bless you Rex and GO RICK PITINO and GO BIG BLUE…

    • 4everUKBlue
      7:29 pm July 19, 2020 Permalink

      You never pass up an opportunity to throw shade a Cal. GO CATS, GO CAL AND GO TO HELL. KYCAPSLOCK4EVER.

    • 4everUKBlue
      7:35 pm July 19, 2020 Permalink

      The obvious reason Pitino reached out to him, as is stated, is because Rick has had experience with substance abluse. How could Cal know what to say having not had any substance abuse issues?

    7:23 pm July 19, 2020 Permalink

    Uh, somebody needs to tell “RiottWomenn” (whatever they are) that Chapman never played for Pitino…

  3. Headhurts
    8:06 pm July 19, 2020 Permalink

    Cal owns Rick on the court head to head, and off the court, that said glad Ricks advice helped Rex and his addiction.

  4. bbn606
    8:33 am July 20, 2020 Permalink

    I have met and interacted with many UK players and Chapman was the nicest and most courteous of the bunch.