Rockets’ Assistant Coach John Lucas Helps Athletes Fight Alcohol and Drug Addiction


By: Marc J. Spears

Original Source:

In the early morning of March 14, 1986, John Lucas was found blacked out in downtown Houston. He was wearing a suit, athletic socks and no shoes. Cocaine and alcohol shut the then-Houston Rockets guard down before the Portland Trail Blazers’ defense had a chance to do it.

It was rock bottom for Lucas, who was released by the Rockets.

“I was looking for a car I left at home. And I missed the game that night,” Lucas, a Rockets assistant coach, told The Undefeated.

Before Rockets star James Harden was born, Lucas became a household name in Houston, known more for his heavy drug and alcohol use than his jumpers, steals and assists.

Lucas was the No. 1 overall pick by the Rockets out of the University of Maryland in the 1976 NBA draft. He had three stints with the Rockets in a 14-year career that included stops with the Golden State Warriors, Washington Bullets, San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks and Seattle SuperSonics. Lucas’ battle with cocaine and alcohol nearly destroyed him and became public after he repeatedly was suspended. He submitted voluntarily to anti-drug and anti-alcohol treatment to stay in the NBA while others were banned for flunking tests in the 1980s.

“I wouldn’t recommend anybody to go through what I’ve gone through, because only 1 out of 10 of us make it back,” Lucas said. “I always say, ‘You don’t want to go where I’ve been.’ Not many of us get back. I’ve seen the devil, and it ain’t pretty.”

After being sober for more than 30 years, Lucas now is best known for helping athletes fight through their alcohol and drug addictions.

Lucas operates a Houston-based wellness and aftercare program, offering…click here to continue reading