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Caron Butler; Fighting Through Adversity
by: David Ferraro
A friend just recently asked me why no one on the site staff has done an article about the Keyshawn Johnson issue. For those of you who don't know, Keyshawn made remarks saying he didn't like how much he was getting the ball and wanted to leave after this season was over. The Bucs responded by deactivating him for the rest of the season. Anyway, I thought about what he said and I had a great idea.
We are always seeing athletes getting in trouble by saying and doing possibly the dumbest things they can do in their situation. Terrell Owens, mocks the Dallas Cowboys in front of thousands of die-hard fans. Kobe Bryant, possibly ruins his image that brought him in millions. Manny Ramirez, doesn't play in a big series against rival Yankees because of a soar throat when the division and playoffs were on the line. And possibly the biggest jerk in all of sports, Bill Romanowski, has spit in a players face, said he takes steroids to keep up with n*****, and most recently punched his own teammate so hard he is out for 6 weeks.
But hey, what's the fun in writing about that stuff? So I figured I'd remind or tell people about a good story in sports at a time we could all use one.
Its the twelfth game in a Miami Heat season that hasn't started out as planned. Lamar Odom has started off slow in his "new start", Dwayne Wade has been terribly inconsistent as he put up 18 in his debut then shot 2-12 the next night, and the Heat are 3-7 (about to go 3-8) with their growing star averaging less than five points per game.
That growing star is Caron Butler, he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee during pre-season and is taking some big hits from critics. Seeing him daze at the court, it looks like things have hit rock bottom for the 23 year old getting paid 1.8 million this season. However, nothings further from the truth.
There was a time when it looked Butler's NBA hopes were over. Like too many young players, his dreams were dying because he was in handcuffs being pushed into a van that would be taking him to a correctional facility. At just the age of 14, Caron Butler was caught having a gun and possession of cocaine while in his HS at Racine, Wisconsin. He would spend nine months in a juvenile detention facility and another six in jail. In jail was Butler's lowpoint, after getting in a fight and spending 10 days in solitary confinement he vowed to himself he would change his ways.
When he got out of jail his Mom and Grandmother moved out the neighborhood giving himself a fresh start with new people. While organizations worked to find another high school to let Butler back in, he worked at a Burger King and even had to wear an ankle bracelet to keep track of him. Eventually, Caron Butler played again at Maine Central Institute where he shined.
Now that Caron Butler again proved he was on of the top players in the country, it was time to move onto college. Usually, its hard to get teams to commit to a player with such a bad record, but UConn coach Jim Calhoun saw Butler's drive and dedication to fixing his life and was awarded by a scholarship.
Butler awarded Calhoun's faith by being the top scorer on the team as a freshman, then going on to lead them into the elite eight before losing to the eventual winner, Maryland as a sophomore. He was also named the CO Big East Player of the Year with Brandin Knight before he entered for the NBA draft.
The Draft , another hard day in Butler's life. Predicted to be a definite top 5 pick, Butler watched as player after player was taken and finally the Heat called his name with the 10th overall pick. All the time Butler was crying, not only because he lost millions of dollars in the drop down, but he again saw the cruelty of life. Apparently, agents mad at Caron for not choosing them spread rumors he had been shot in his knee in the past, dropping his stock.
Caron played the season as if he had something to prove to all the teams that passed him up. However, when it came time for Rookie of the Year, Caron Butler wasn't even really mentioned as he finished third to high schooler Amare Stoudemire and foreigner Yao Ming despite having more than 2 ppg than each of them.
We are finally back where we started. Caron is staring at the court as the Heat lose their ninth game of the season while he played just 11 minutes. Miami fans, always weary are already losing faith in the guy that averaged over 15 ppg. as a rookie, and Butler is feeling the heat once again.
But don't worry, he's faced worse.