LIVINGSTON, NJ — Darren Prince, a Livingston High School (LHS) graduate of 1988, had much to celebrate at his 30-year reunion on Nov. 24 following the release of his memoir “Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports & Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top,” which has since been named an international best-seller. Now officially 10 years sober, the recovery advocate’s recent success has allowed Prince to experience a new type of high.
As the founder of Prince Marketing Group, a highly successful sports and entertainment-marketing firm, Prince battled addiction while representing some of the industry’s biggest names—including Hulk Hogan, Dennis Rodman, Mike Tyson, Charlie Sheen and more. On Oct. 2, years after a drug overdose that nearly took his life and other experiences that led him on the road to recovery, Prince released a memoir about his struggles, complete with a prelude written by NBA icon and close friend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
“It just goes to show that from my pain in life I found my purpose,” said Prince, whose book was recently named a best-seller in the United States, England, Australia and Canada. “It was never about the ‘super agent life’ representing some of the most iconic figures of all time, it’s about God using me as a point person to show others out there who are sick and suffering that there is hope in recovery from opiate addiction and substance abuse.”
As one of the clients who witnessed firsthand how functional his agent was as an addict, Magic Johnson later learned that although it appeared from the outside that Prince “had it all,” on the inside he was “completely broken,” Prince explained.
“I was one of those people that happened to be very functioning, but when I was alone in my own head at night, I didn’t want to live anymore toward the end,” said Prince, further stating that Magic Johnson was one of the first people who knew Prince was going to change lives by sharing his story.
The message that it’s never too late to find a new way of life is one that Prince is determined to reach the masses with.
In his recent success, Prince has most enjoyed speaking at high schools and colleges, urging young students to avoid the pitfalls of addiction. In fact, he noted that an event at his alma mater is already in the works, and that he looks forward to speaking to not only Livingston students, but to their parents as well.
“That’s been the best part: going into high schools and organizations and charity events and knowing that some God-given words that are coming out of my mouth in that moment are changing and saving at least one or two lives each and every time I do it,” said Prince. “It’s just the greatest feeling in the world knowing that somebody got touched by something I’ve been through to help them make that change—to take that bottom and make it their beginning.”
After attending his 30th high school reunion at Ravello in East Hanover on Nov. 24, Prince said the support he has felt from the LHS Class of 1988 has been overwhelming. Unlike previous experiences, Prince was no longer “Darren the Agent" at the reunion—he was the author of an international best seller with an ability to change lives.
“Even classmates that I don’t remember are finding me on social media, and I can’t even tell you the amount of people at the reunion that came over to me to congratulate me on the book,” said Prince. “Who I am is an opiate addict that’s in recovery, a drug addict substance abuser that is trying to stay sober one day at a time and give this gift to other people. To have not even 90 percent or 80 percent, but 100 percent of every single person not just from my reunion but other parts of the world supportive of this is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”
Prince was 12 years old when he had his first experience with drugs. Growing up in special education classrooms, Prince said he often felt like he wasn’t good enough, often being verbally teased by his classmates. But when a nurse at sleep-away camp gave him drugs for stomach pain, Prince said it “made [him] feel like Superman.”
“I thought it was the greatest feeling in the world, not realizing that that’s not a normal reaction—that’s a reaction for somebody that’s got a lot of self-esteem issues,” said Prince. “I want kids to identify if they have those feelings…Get the courage to speak up now and don’t do what Darren Prince did; don’t live in 23 years of hell denying the life that you should be having.
"I’m one of the lucky ones because I shouldn’t be alive right now speaking to you and telling my story. And it all started because as a teenager I never felt worthy, I never felt like I fit in.”
Since the book’s release, Prince’s has received nonstop invitations to appear on popular talk shows, speak at schools and charity events, share his experience with major news outlets and more. He was even invited to President Donald Trump’s signing of the historic $6 billion bipartisan legislation to confront the country’s opioid crisis, and was also a guest on "Good Day New York" alongside televangelist Joel Osteen, who has been a personal inspiration to Prince.
“It’s been unbelievable because I’m used to getting press for being the guy behind the scenes, but to sit there and actually talk about something that’s such a stigma and seems to be so uncomfortable to most people has been really amazing,” said Prince, who was thrilled when Osteen praised Prince’s message of hope and inspiration to others in need. “Every single day there’s something else that’s popping up because of this: different organizations calling me, individuals inbox-ing me on Instagram...I had no idea it was going to take on a life of its own.
“We wanted to accomplish best-seller status, but I never thought it was going to be an international best-seller in four countries. The support from everybody from all walks of life has been amazing.”
Prince, whose marketing firm is now busier than ever, lends much of the memoir’s success to the “incredible, once-in-a-lifetime relationships” with his celebrity clients who have all supported him by helping to get the word out. He added that he has been incredibly lucky to have a natural talent for “working for special people who have accomplished some extraordinary and historic things in their lives.”
In addition to the many events he already has lined up for 2019, Prince has also been contacted by a few major studios to discuss a documentary or motion picture based on “Aiming High.”
As he will soon be moving full time to West Hollywood, Prince is currently looking forward to a second get-together with some of his LHS classmates at Jimmy Johnson’s next weekend. Although he won’t be joining in at the bar, Prince said he can’t wait to catch up with some of the friends who couldn’t make it to the November event as well as some old friends from other LHS classes.
“I’ve learned to go into any environment in my life right now and be sober and happy and be in the moment and just love the person that I am and I’m trying to be each and every day,” said Prince. “Life’s about staying in the present right now and just enjoying every moment."
According to Prince, family members and friends of someone battling addiction are often suffering just as badly because they don’t know where to turn or how to help.
Prince encourages anyone who needs guidance or advice to reach out to him via Instagram (@agent_dp) or Facebook.
To learn more about “Aiming High” or to purchase a copy, visit www.aiminghighbook.com.