Caron Butler

Two-time NBA All-Star forward Caron Butler may have been out injured during the Dallas Mavericks playoff run to the 2011 NBA championship, but he’s still proud to be a part of the team and is happily soaking it all in.

“I’m trying to take it all in stride. All your life you want to be a champion. You always carry yourself like that, and represent your family the right way. To reach this height is so rewarding,” said Butler. “So many great players always fall short of this goal. It is a very humbling experience.”

Butler, who went down halfway through the year with a season-ending torn patella injury, says he was in fact just days from being cleared for a return by the Mavericks. He had been playing 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 in practice, and was participating in shoot-around. The team even brought his uniform to Miami, just in case he was cleared.

“It took me nine years to get here. I was playing some of the best ball of my career, and life threw something at me. I kept moving forward, and that was our team’s identity. Coach said we’re going to continue to move forward because that’s what you did. I was less than a week out from being cleared. I was so close to coming back. This team inspired me, the same amount that I inspired them. It was more and more a breath of fresh air. And together we made beautiful music.”

Continued Butler, “Jason Kidd and Jason Terry saying they were going to dedicate the playoffs to me, that was really special. For Kidd, a future Hall of Famer, and Terry, whose jersey will probably hang in the rafters in Dallas one day, to say that, let me know that they respect me as basketball player, but more than that, they respect me as a person. In a sense, I felt like I was more a part of the win this way, than if I was out there myself.”