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.”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 18, 2020
“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.
Rick Pitino is a friend of 35-yrs. I’m crushed today for U of L, the state & my friend. We’ve had two elite programs in KY forever. Damn.
— Rex Chapman?? (@RexChapman) September 27, 2017
— Rex Chapman?? (@RexChapman) August 27, 2016
I would play for Rick Pitino in any era. He’s one of the best basketball coaches I’ve ever seen. Recruiting, sidelines, players get better, win titles, players graduate, then go on to succeed in life.
— Rex Chapman?? (@RexChapman) January 2, 2019
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.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 19, 2020
The hour-long podcast is available in its entirety here: