Caron Butler: I Hope My Story Inspires People

Butler went from troubled youth to NBA All-Star in just a couple of years

Zach Gelb
February 18, 2020 - 11:11 am
Caron Butler

USA Today Images


Caron Butler was a star at UConn, a lottery pick in 2002, played in the NBA until 2016, and was a two-time All-Star. He was, in short, a success.

But that success was far from ensured in his youth. Butler was dealing drugs by the age of 12 and had been arrested 15 times before his 15th birthday. His life could have spiraled out of control, but it didn’t. 

Butler, now 39, hopes people are motivated by his story.

“I want them to be inspired because it’s not how you start,” Butler said on The Zach Gelb Show. “It’s pretty much – I don’t want to say finish, but you can change the narrative of your life with hard work and having the right disposition and the attitude and mindset. That’s what I had. My problems at a young age, because of the demographic and where I was located at the time and the region, I was always put in a box in correctional facilities. But the best thing that happened to me ever was I addressed my traumas and I came out to be a better version of myself. Going forward, I just continued to hang around people that elevated me.”

Butler began to take education seriously and got excited about being around people who were “better than me.” It motivated him.

“When they planted these seeds in me, I was able to be a better version of myself,” Butler said. “I was extremely blessed. I hope people [are] inspired by the story and take something [from it] because it affects people from all different walks of life.”