LOS ANGELES – At the ripe age of 11, Clippers forward Caron Butler married himself to the streets of Racine, Wisconsin. He sold drugs. Crack cocaine to be exact.
A very candid Butler shared that and more as he told his story to students from Dorsey and Santee High Schools Monday in Downtown Los Angeles inside the AT&T Auditorium.
The students were special guests of the Clippers and FOX Sports West/Prime Ticket, respectively, for a special screening of “In My Own Words: Caron Butler.”
Students were given the chance to see the commercial-free special in its entirety. That screening was followed by a Q&A session moderated by “Clippers Live” host Michael Eaves.
Butler gave students a detailed recap of his arrest as a 15 year old. Although he was just a minor, Butler was placed in a prison with adults up to the age of 22 years old.
He also spoke about the two weeks he spent incarcerated in solitary confinement, stuck in his jail cell for 23 and a half hours a day.
“That’s what broke me,” Butler told the students. “That’s what changed my life.”
Those days in solitary confinement started his road to redemption. However, it took a hefty lesson for it to sink in. The 2011 NBA World Champion says growing up in the streets of Racine, he was “persuaded easily” into what was trending, despite being a straight-A student.
Cars, clothes, and jewelry were enticing and he was willing to enter a world of crime to get those things. He encouraged the students not to do the same.
“You got to be disciplined enough to not let peer pressure get the best of you,” Butler said. “Keep your faith in God. Have a strong foundation and good values.”
The two-time All-Star was right at home speaking with the students. He says if he weren’t playing basketball for a living, he would have a career working with kids in a group home or a recreation center.