The Hip-Hop culture can be found in many places influencing many people. Racine, Wisconsin is one of those places and Washington Wizard All Star forward Caron Butler is one of those people. Growing up in Racine was anything but easy for Caron Butler but amid all the success, Butler has not forgotten where he came from. Butler is a pillar in his community; so much so that June 8th has been named Caron Butler day in his hometown. As the 2009-2010 season approaches, expectations are higher then ever for the Wizards. Butler discusses growing up in Racine, Hip Hop music and the upcoming season with Butler. This is how it went down:
AllHipHop.com: From the time you entered the league with Miami, then with the Lakers and now with the Wizards, your stats have improved each year. What did you do this off-season that was different from any other off season?
Caron Butler: I think just mostly working on my strength and agility. You know this is the first season in which I come into with no injuries. I always come into the season with little knicks and knacks. For the most part I was completely healthy at the end of last season. I was just more prepared, so I went right into my summer training healthy.
AllHipHop.com: So you started as soon as your season ended?
Caron Butler: Yes, obviously our season ended really early last year, we were done the second week of April. I took three weeks off and got right back at it.
AllHipHop.com: So when you were growing up, were there any players that you looked up to that did not make it to the NBA?
Caron Butler: There were a lot of neighborhood guys, growing up, that I looked up to. They were older guys in the hood that ended up getting into other things but as basketball players, they were unbelievable. But there was nobody really of any significant notoriety.
AllHipHop.com: What was your first introduction to Hip-Hop?
Caron Butler: My first introduction to Hip Hop was Run DMC and LL Cool J. I went to a concert in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Bradley Center when I was younger and had a chance to see LL live. At the time he was beefing with Kool Moe Dee so it was crazy. Just seeing that, from that point on I was a Hip-Hop head all the way thru. Some of my favorite artists are Tupac, Biggie and Jay-Z; I’m still young so you know Lil Wayne is also one of my favorites. There are a lot of dudes out there that I really like.
AllHipHop.com: I casually listened to Hip-Hop myself early on, but once I heard Ready to Die, I was hooked.
Caron Butler: Hip Hop you know is the voice of the community, it really is.
AllHipHop.com: Who would say is your favorite rapper?
Caron Butler: My favorite rapper, living, Jay-Z definitely.
AllHipHop.com: Word is coach Flip Saunders gave the team iPods with something real interesting on it, what is that all about?
Caron Butler: At the beginning of training camp, coach gave us iPods; the I-Purchase and the opportunity to download a lot of music. He gave us this other thing, that I have never seen done with all the plays. Coach’s play book is rather heavy and very thick, we have over a 1000 plays. There is a lot of detail to it, he actually has people running thru the plays so you are not looking at a sketch. It is actual people running thru the plays, which is something I had never seen before.
AllHipHop.com: So you are actually looking at players on the iPOD?
Caron Butler: Yeah it is crazy.
AllHipHop.com: Let’s say you are getting ready for Game 7 of the NBA Finals, which you guys may very well get to, what song would you warm up to?
Caron Butler: Right now I would go old school with the man Mystical and then take it to “We Run This Town” with Jay, and go out and make it happen.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned the concert in Milwaukee Wisconsin when you were growing up, now what was the best Hip-Hop performance you have seen live?
Caron Butler: Best performance I ever seen live was Jay-Z in the Staples Center. I think it was a beautiful thing because that was at the time when him and Kells (R. Kelly) fell out and everybody was wondering where the tour would go, what was happening and tickets were already purchased. Jay-Z turned the tour to Jay-Z and friends and he came down with Snoop Dogg, Pharrell, Mary J. Blige, Redman, Method Man, bought DMX back to the stage, Ja Rule, the whole Roc was there Beanie Seagal, Memphis Bleek and the energy kept building and building. Kid Capri was DJ-ing, it was just crazy.
AllHipHop.com: Jay-Z does know how to bring the energy. You can’t blame him for dropping Kells either.
Caron Butler: Yeah definitely, but the concert was so good because there was never a drop off, it kept getting better and better and better.
AllHipHop.com: If you were to compare your game to any rappers style who would it be?
Caron Butler: I would say Kanye West.
AllHipHop.com: Kanye West, why?
Caron Butler: Yeah definitely. I’m different, obviously I’m consistent, and my numbers don’t lie. I will put my numbers against anybody in the league over the last couple of years, I’m doing something in the league only LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are doing. Dropping 20, 7 and 4, the numbers don’t lie.
AllHipHop.com: Going back to your work ethic, you get better every year, who do you credit the most for your work ethic?
Caron Butler: Honestly man, I have truly been blessed to be in situations too play alongside Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant and Gilbert Arenas. When you play with tremendous athletes, great players and great minds, you take something from all of them and apply it to your own routine and your own workouts and that is what I have done. But I got the most from Kobe and seeing the way he prepares for games and stuff like that and applying it to my own routine and here I am, playing great basketball.
AllHipHop.com: Kobe Bryant is a great player, he is my 2nd favorite right after Caron Butler.
Caron Butler: (Laughing) Thanks man I appreciate it.
AllHipHop.com: There are high expectations for the Wizards this season, if you guys remain healthy how far do you think you can go?
Caron Butler: Championship!!!!!!! I mean it is realistic and safe to say with our core guys back, you know our closer Gilbert Arenas being healthy, Brandon Haywood back healthy, DeShawn Stevenson our defensive stopper on the perimeter healthy and the development of our young guys. Also the new additions of Mike Miller, Randy Foye and Fabrico Oberto, somebody who has been in the playoff battles and won a championship, I think we are ready for war.
AllHipHop.com: This is definitely the best team you guys have had in a few years. Probably the best in the Wizards Organizations history.
Caron Butler: This is the most talented team we had since I been here and I been here for 5 years now. I’m anxious to get the season going.
AllHipHop.com: I think Boston and Orlando present the biggest challenges, would you agree with that?
Caron Butler: Definitely, with the additions of Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels along with a healthy KG and development of their younger guys, they are going to be tough to handle. But we think we can beat anybody on a giving night, we present a lot of match up problems.
AllHipHop.com: The Cavs added Shaq but for some reason I’m just not really seeing that working out.
Caron Butler: Shaq is honestly one of the greatest players of all time and I feel like you just have to adapt to the situation and share that stage with LeBron and just make some beautiful music, but I’m just pushing and pulling for the Wizards.
H. Speaking of the Cleveland Cavaliers, how do you feel about Mike Miller wearing Lebron’s shoes?
Caron Butler: You know LeBron is my man off the court so you know it is all good. Of course we prefer him to wear something else but if he goes out there and shoots the way he has the last couple of years wearing those shoes then so be it.
AllHipHop.com: What player talks the most trash during games?
Caron Butler: I would have to say Kevin Garnett, but it is to himself. Kevin Garnett is one of those dudes you love to watch because he is always hyping himself up. He talks to himself more then anything.
AllHipHop.com: Who would say is the most underrated player?
Caron Butler: A lot of guys, you know myself, Shawn Marion, Joe Johnson you know guys that get it done on a night to night basis but get overlooked. Like I said though numbers don’t lie, they get it done night after night.
AllHipHop.com: If you could use one word to describe new head coach Flip Saunders what would it be?
Caron Butler: Genius!
Caron Butler: Yeah, I think he is an offensive genius, because some of his philosophies, the plays and the way his mind works with the offensive schemes.
AllHipHop.com: He definitely opens things up, I thought he got a raw deal in Detroit.
Caron Butler: Yeah, that is the nature of the beast, people get tough breaks sometimes.
Caron Butler: I would have to say working somewhere like a group home or recreational center. You know working with kids, helping kids and sharing my story. Just trying to be a pillar in the community.
AllHipHop.com: So the community is really important to you?
Caron Butler: Yes definitely, I have been thru a lot in my life, so I try and get out there and share my story as much as possible. I feel like with the youth today, seeing is really believing. You got a lot of people that will come in and give great speeches and conduct great lectures. But they have not been thru it, after going thru it, after being incarcerated and being out there in the streets and so much, I can identify with the youth.
AllHipHop.com: Besides the travel schedule what would you say is the biggest challenge you face being a husband and father?
Caron Butler: Besides travel, time. Outside of being on the road, this is a year round job, training, you don’t get a lot of time to spend with your loved ones and kids. Your such a public figure that everything you do, you are in the spotlight. So it is different.
AllHipHop.com: What makes Caron Butler stay so humble amid all the success?
Caron Butler: I have a great circle. I was raised right and I know some things aren’t me. I know it is a bigger power, a higher being that made all this possible. So I always praise him. You know I was humbled with injuries early in my career, I remember those days and now I try to lead and be a role model and just be the best professional I can be on and off the court thru that experience.
AllHipHop.com: Word is you are blogging, who introduced you to blogging?
Caron Butler: First person I ever seen blog was Gilbert, and I thought his stuff was so entertaining but I thought I would do something a little different. His stuff is real funny. I just want people to see a whole other side of me. You know, you see me on the court always serious, I just want to show another side of Caron Butler.
(Caron Butler’s blog can be found on www.hoopshype.com)
AllHipHop.com: What are some of the things you blog about?
Caron Butler: I’m going to be blogging about my team, my life, what I’m going thru, what we are going thru as a unit, what I’m doing in my free time, whenever I get any. Everything you know, it is the real Tough-Juice, Uncut Juice.
AllHipHop.com: Now when you were growing up if someone told you there would be an NBA player from Racine, Wisconsin would you have believed them?
Caron Butler: Never in a million years would I have believed them.
AllHipHop.com: I hear in Racine June 8th is Caron Butler day, do I have to go to work that day?
Caron Butler: (Laughing) Yeah June 8th is the official Caron Butler day, it is a nice thing. It is a day of service where I try and influence members of the community to go out and be pillars of the community. We do a lot of wonderful things, it is just a day of service, helping out some how, some way.
AllHipHop.com: Are there any particular events going on that day?
Caron Butler: Yeah definitely, we do cookouts, a lot of social gatherings and I host a charity basketball game back in Racine. It is a big event, that the whole town supports, and I mean it is huge.
AllHipHop.com: What’s up with Team Takeover?
Caron Butler: Team Takeover is out of DC and is my 16 and under AAU squad, there have been taking over everywhere they go, they are holding it down. They are doing a great job and it has been great to be part of that. While I was looking around for teams that I could help and try to inspire and have a hands on commitment with. Coach Stevens said to me he has a great team, a great group of kids that need some help and it would be great if I could head up there and touch them. I thought it would be a great opportunity to do something special. I always wanted to get involved with AAU so what better time then now.
AllHipHop.com: Do you ever get on the court and go up against the kids?
Caron Butler: They never call me out, they know what is best for them (laughing). I will step out there.
AllHipHop.com: What is your life going to be like for you after basketball?
Caron Butler: I think it is going to be fun, I look forward to that, having a lot of free time and spending it with my loved ones. Diversifying my portfolio and doing a lot of other things. But for right now the main focus is winning a title and after that fall back where there are no mosquitoes.
AllHipHop.com: If healthy you guys should definitely be in the title hunt the next four or five years with the roster the way it is now.
Caron Butler: Definitely, that is the plan
AllHipHop.com: Are you on twitter or Facebook?
Caron Butler: Nah.
AllHipHop.com: I asked my twitter followers if they could ask their favorite NBA player a question what it would be.
The question is: During the most recent recession how many people have come to Caron Butler for a bailout?
Caron Butler: Oh man hundreds.
AllHipHop.com: All types of people, or just family and friends?
AllHipHop.com: So did anyone get a bailout package?
Caron Butler: Nah.
AllHipHop.com: I don’t blame you.
AllHipHop.com: Last question; Being a professional athlete and recognizable face, what do you feel is your responsibility to the community overall?
Caron Butler: I know my responsibility to the community is to be a role model, obviously to teach. And just to be professional on and off the court. Be a pillar in the community and do as much as I can in the community. Be visible and be seen in the right way, just try and get out there and inspire young folks as much as possible. And you know, I enjoy doing it, I don’t have a problem going out there and talking, you know I’m approachable, you can talk to me, you can touch me, it is not like I’m standoffish. I like getting out there and having interaction with the kids.
AllHipHop.com: Thanks for your time Caron, it has been a pleasure.