Basketball is a mere fraction of his remarkable story
A 15-year NBA veteran and world champion, Caron Butler’s personal journey is a remarkable one of regeneration and hope in the unseen that needs to be shared. It’s a journey bigger than just basketball. It’s an inspiring tale of a boy who began facilitating drug deals at the age of 11. He estimates that he’d been arrested and appeared in juvenile court on a multitude of charges on 15 separate occasions by the time he was 15 years old.
Butler came of age in a wicked environment where his role models were older uncles who were steeped in the culture of the narcotics business. He saw the wads of money and fancy cars, hypnotized by the lifestyle and what he viewed as success at the time.
“I’d always seen, from the second that I was a youngster, garbage bags filled with money, handguns, people doing drugs in front of me,” Butler said. “I was exposed to that type of lifestyle and that type of environment. I used to get the crumbs and the shake off the table. When they used to bag up kilos of cocaine, I would get the extras.”
He grew up in Racine, Wisconsin, a waterfront city of about 80,000 people situated south of Milwaukee.
A mere six blocks from the beautiful multi-million dollar waterfront estates alongside Lake Michigan was Hamilton Park, on Racine’s south side, which was the epicenter of a young Caron Butler’s limited world. The park, with its perpetual buzzing of drug and gang activity, was surrounded by decaying buildings and dilapidated homes.