Caron Butler has been known to be a journeyman in the NBA. He has played for seven different NBA teams since being selected as the 10th overall pick by the Miami Heat in 2002. Butler now plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder after playing for the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this year. Despite moving from team to team, the small forward from the University of Connecticut has averaged 15.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in his career. However, Butler’s journey before he played basketball is more amazing in itself. As a small boy living in Racine, Wisconsin, Butler looked up to his two uncles. His mother was a single parent and was working two jobs at the time and so his uncles were the only father figures he had around at the time, but they were not exactly good examples. Both were drug dealers and got their nephew into the business when he was only 11 years old. From there, Butler got arrested 15 times before he turned 15. While he was serving his last sentence at a juvenile institution, Butler fell in love with two things: basketball and Jesus Christ.
“My grandmother told me to pick up a bible and just believe in God,” he said. “God can hinder all obstacles that you’re going through. And my mother staying in my corner, because a lot of parents, when kids fail, give up on them. A lot of the people that I was incarcerated with didn’t have visitors, but my mother was always there, sometimes twice a day, uplifting my spirits and telling me to stay positive. And I think that really showed me how much she cared and believed in me. She believed in me more than I believed in myself.” (Credit: insidehoops.com)
Butler went on to say that basketball was his ticket out to living on the streets. He started playing so well that he got noticed by Jim Calhoun of the UConn Huskies. In his freshman year, he led his team in both points and rebounds. Then in his sophomore season, he was named co-Big East Player of the Year. Butler was able to accomplish all of these tasks by making God the father-figure in his life that he desperately needed.
“God puts stuff in front of you for a reason,” he said. “He put His hands on my life and said, ‘I’m going to touch you so that you can touch others.”
And he has. Butler donated $200,000 to four local charities in his hometown of Racine back in 2012. He also created a youth basketball league to show other kids that basketball can get you out of the life of a drug dealer. God has shown through Caron Butler’s life that he can take anyone off the streets and make them into a great example of God’s grace and mercy.