After a career that spanned 16 years with nine different teams, Caron Butler has officially retired from the NBA. While he hasn’t played in the NBA in two seasons, Butler made the decision official with an article in The Player’s Tribune on Tuesday.
“It’s been a great ride and truly a blessing. But everything runs its course, even good things. Today, I’m retiring from the NBA,” he wrote.
Butler’s journey started when Jim Calhoun took a chance on a kid with a troubled past from the rough town of Racine, WI. Once at UConn, he forged a strong bond with Calhoun, calling him “the father I never had.”
Butler starred with the Huskies during his two seasons, averaging 18.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.0 rebounds per game.
As a sophomore in 2001-2002, Butler was named the Big East Player of the Year and led the Huskies to both the Big East Regular Season and Tournament Championships. However, UConn eventually fell in the Elite Eight to Maryland.
After the season, Butler declared for the NBA Draft and was selected 10th overall by the Miami Heat. He spent two seasons there, picking up an All-Rookie team honor before being traded to Los Angeles Lakers as part of the package for Shaquille O’Neal.
“I would’ve traded myself for Shaq, too. If you can look at yourself in the mirror and say that you are more valuable to a team than Shaq, then I don’t know what to tell you,” Butler wrote about the trade.
However, he would only spend a year in LA before being traded again, this time to the Washington Wizards. It was here that Butler would flourish, playing five seasons and earning two All-Star bids.
After that, Butler bounced around the league, spending parts of two seasons with both the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers. He split the 2013-14 season between Milwaukee and Oklahoma City before closing the final two years of his career with the Detroit Pistons and Sacramento Kings.
In 2016, UConn honored Butler by adding his number to the Huskies of Honor. Later, he made a contribution to the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center.
“Being recognized in the Huskies of Honor event brought back so many incredible memories and emotions. Coach Jim Calhoun and all the coaches...have played a critical role in my life, and Andrea and I are blessed to be able to give back in this small way,” Butler told UConn Today.
Butler now works as an analyst for ESPN’s coverage of college basketball. He’s also working with Mark Wahlberg on a movie about his life story.