Not everything that happens in Las Vegas needs to – or should – stay in Las Vegas.
Kings forward Caron Butler was a guest on Sirius Satellite Radio with Frank Isola and Brian Scalabrine on Monday morning promoting his new autobiography “Tuff Juice: My journey from the Streets to the NBA.”
During the summer, Butler joined Kings coach George Karl, point guard Rajon Rondo, guard Marco Belinelli, and other new players, for dinner in Las Vegas.
Talking about about a dinner that was attended by Kings players DeMarcus Cousins, Omri Casspi, and new comers Rajon Rondo and Marco Belinelli, including head coach George Karl, Butler sounded as if accountability will be a big part of the season.
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“We just talked about laying a foundation about how we want to move forward,” Butler said. “And guys said all the right things and kind of aired out some issues that they had. And the participation in the voluntary workouts, we’ve been getting to know each other. I feel like it’s going to be a really good year for us and guys are just buying into winning and that’s what we need.”
Butler has played with several future Hall of Fame players, including Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowtizki, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
Butler, a two-time All-Star himself, was asked about playing with DeMarcus Cousins, who made his first All-Star team last season.
“He has no ceiling,” Butler said. “He can do everything. He can shoot the ball, he can put it on the floor. Everybody knows he has that edge, that toughness, that desire to be better.”
Butler added how the season unfolds will have more to do with the players than Karl.
“We’ve got a (future) Hall of Fame coach but there’s only so much a coach can do,” Butler said. “Us as players have got to police our locker room and police the situation as much as possible to challenge each other and make each other better. Each one teach one, that’s the way we go about it. If we see one not doing the right thing we’ve got to talk about it because we’re men and the results affect all of us. So we’ve got to rally together and make each other better.”
Butler’s book is set for an Oct. 7 release. Butler said he didn’t have a “Come to Jesus” moment that led him to change his life around. But after being incarcerated as a teen, having two friends die and becoming a father at 14, Butler began to turn to basketball as an outlet that led him to the University of Connecticut and becoming a first-round draft pick by Miami in 2002.
AAU basketball allowed him to see areas in the country different from the destructive path he was on in Racine, Wisc. A job at Burger King taught Butler the value of hard work and earning a legitimate paycheck.
Butler has a reputation for being a strong locker room presence that does not accept anything other than maximum effort and commitment.
Bryant wrote the foreward for Butler’s book. Butler said playing with Bryant directly led to him becoming a better player.
“I think that’s the reason I was so successful after playing with the Lakers was playing with Kobe Bryant, one of the best players of our generation,” Butler said. “I learned a lot from him on and off the court and I applied that to myself.”