(KUTV) Alema Harrington is a familiar face in the sports broadcasting world. He currently hosts "Jazz Game Night" on the Root Sports Network.
Harrington grew up in Hawaii where his father, Al Harrington, was a star athlete and entertainer. His father starred in the original "Hawaii Five-O" and viewers can still see him on screen in the modern-day version. Harrington admits he felt expections from his father's success. "My father was a legendary athlete--not a good athlete, a legendary athlete. He wasn't just an entertainer, he was the entertainer of the year," Harrington said. "I felt like 'well, I've got to be like that.'"
Harrington and his twin brother, Tau, played for the BYU football team. Harrington was on the roster from 1984-1988, but a back injury eventually prompted Harrington to quit football. That injury also led to an addiction to painkillers.
"As soon as I took that--it was a Percocet--it changed my whole outlook on life," Harrington said. "Everything was just OK."
Harrington struggled with addiction on and off for years, with several rock bottom moments along the way. "The bottoms involve my kids," he said. He recalls one time when his three oldest children were trying to get into the bathroom and he was holding the door shut, trying to get another hit of OxyContin. "I look at the things that I did in my addiction that were so selfish."
His relationship with his children is good now. "That was a process," Harrington said. "There's a lot of hurt along the way and they went through unspeakable things."
Eventually Harrington got a clinical degree to become a substance abuse counselor. "Probably my biggest passion is working in addiction recovery," he said. He now spends his days helping others at "Renaissance Ranch," a rehabilitation center.
"This grounds me. It gives me a daily connection," Harrington said. "I'm a miracle. I witness miracles. I participate in miracles on a daily basis. Sign me up! It's a good life."
For more, watch his Person 2 Person interview with Shauna Lake above.