Back in the day, Johnny "Dunkin" Hines was a force on the basketball court, drawing attention from all over the country to the Valley. "One of the most recruited players to ever come out of Dos Palos High School. A high school with three to 500 students, and you could put my name in the same sentence as guys like Shaquille O'neal, Chris Weber, Cherokee Parks. The best of the best," said Hines.
These days, he's commanding a different presence as a public speaker. Hines was invited by Selma High's Eminence Program to share his struggles with alcohol -- one that ultimately ended his promising career. He told students that encounter started early. "Coming out of the 7th and 8th grade the popularity was overwhelming. I didn't handle it the right way, and I used a different route, and used it as a damaging force to myself."
Hines says his drinking led him astray, ending a short stint at Fresno State and the weight piled on. He worked as a truck driver then got back to the court at Fresno City and tipped the scale at 490 pounds. He chose to get gastric bypass to give him a second chance at life. "I've had 13 surgeries since December 2010 -- since the first gastric bypass went wrong. And for anyone to withstand 13 surgeries and still be standing today, that's something I gotta share."
Students listened intently to Hines story as he told them to not to grow up to fast, and to be careful of the company you keep. "Alcohol ain't the way. Any other drug aint the way. If you have problems, sit down and talk to someone."
A real life story, Hines hopes others will learn from.
Hines has been clean and sober for six years. These day he shares his stories with the community and is pursing his dreams operating his own catering business, "Grill to Thrill Mobile BBQ."