A powerful memoir from the University of Kentucky basketball legend, NBA veteran, and social media influencer about his recovery from addiction.

He is considered by many the greatest basketball player ever produced by the hoops-crazy state of Kentucky. In two years at the University of Kentucky, he scored over 1,000 points, led the Wildcats to a Sweet Sixteen appearance and was nicknamed “King Rex.” The first player ever drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, he spent twelve seasons in the NBA, dazzling in dunk contests and sinking one of the most memorable buzzer-beaters in league history. But by the end of his career, Rex Chapman was harboring a destructive secret.

Years before America’s opioid crisis would become national news, Chapman developed a dependency on Vicodin and Oxycontin, ultimately ingesting fifty painkillers a day. In addition, he developed a severe gambling addiction, once nearly losing $400,000 at a Las Vegas blackjack table. All this would cost him his family as well as most of the $40 million fortune he’d made in basketball, leaving him to live in his car and shoplift to support his addictions. Only when he was arrested—and his mugshot made national news—did he finally commit to getting clean.

In It’s Hard for Me to Live With Me, Chapman—who has amassed millions of social media followers for his relatable and uplifting posts—tells the story of his addiction and recovery in unflinching detail. With equal frankness, he describes his history with depression; the racism he witnessed growing up and how that shaped his outspokenness on matters of social justice; and his complex and volatile relationship with his father, also a former professional basketball player. Cowritten with New York Times bestselling author Seth Davis, Chapman’s memoir is an equally devastating and inspiring story about the human struggle for self-acceptance.

About the author(s)

Rex Chapman was a standout basketball player at the University of Kentucky, played twelve seasons in the NBA, and served in the front offices of several NBA teams. He has worked as a broadcaster for both professional and college basketball and hosted the CNN+ show Rex Chapman as well as the iHeart podcast Charges with Rex Chapman. He currently hosts the Smartless podcast Owned. A native of Kentucky, he lives in New York City.

Seth Davis is a studio analyst for college basketball at CBS Sports and senior writer at The Athletic. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Wooden: A Coach’s Life and When March Went Mad: The Game Transformed Basketball.


“253 pages of sizzling self-examination, regret, hope, anger, cleansing and raw honesty…A chilling reminder of how little we truly know about the emotions and struggles churning inside the adolescents, teenagers and young adults who are awash in glory and idolized as sports heroes.” —Rick Bozich, (Louisville)

"Chapman’s frank assessment of the toll his addictions took on his loved ones lends his account appealing humility....It’s the off-court sections that lend this sports memoir its power." Publishers Weekly

“Readers will appreciate Chapman's candor and hard-won perspective as he shares his up-and-down story as a cautionary tale." —Booklist

"A former basketball prodigy's blunt memoir about stardom, addiction, and American culture.....Throughout, the author is raw [and] consistently candid....the most compelling and focused aspect of the book is Chapman's frankness about the toll of his battle with painkillers and the hard work required on the long road to recovery." —Kirkus Reviews


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