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Caron Butler: From Hustler to Husky

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The former UConn great talks drugs, gangs and life on the street growing up in Wisconsin in a new VICE Sports video.

Andy Lyons

Most UConn fans know Caron Butler as one of the best players in program history, a standout in the early 00s who went on to enjoy a successful career in the NBA. But not as many know about Butler's journey prior his arrival in Storrs, about his difficult childhood growing up in Racine, Wisconsin, or about the fact that he began dealing drugs at age 11 and had been arrested 15 times by the time he was 15 years old.

In a new video posted this week by VICE Sports, Butler opens up about his past and offers a fascinating perspective on life growing up in the street. When the video begins, Butler walks the viewer through his neighborhoods, pointing out the places where he and his friends used to hustle and which alleys they'd run through to escape from the cops, and he then goes on to talk about his family, and how he was pulled into the drug game at a young age.

"Sometimes you go on your first bike ride and they take the training wheels off, and that's what your uncle did," he said. "Well, my uncles introduced me to gangs, to hustling, pimping and stuff like that, so that's what I was exposed to at a young age."

Butler goes on to share a few examples of things he was exposed to as a child, but he also talks about how since he made it in the NBA, he's made it a point to stick around Racine to show young kids growing up that it is possible for them to be successful, especially since when most other people make it, "you never see them again."

The video is the first of a two-part series, and the second video came out today.