Caron Butler of the Detroit Pistons shoots a free throw during the first quarter of a game at TD Garden in Boston March 22, 2015.            
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

NBA star Caron Butler is proof that sometimes the only thing people need in order to make a change in their life is for someone to give them the benefit of the doubt. By the time Butler was 11, he was already a drug dealer. By 15 he had already been arrested 15 times. In his small town of Racine, Wis., he had built a reputation as a crack-cocaine dealer and was eventually sentenced to 18 months in prison on drug and weapon charges.

Soon after getting out of jail, trouble came knocking again, even though he was trying to change his life around. When Butler was 16, his house was raided and police found 15.3 grams of crack cocaine. Butler claimed that the drugs didn’t belong to him, but if charged with another crime, he was looking at 10 years behind bars.


Then someone extended a helping hand. The law-enforcement officer believed him, even though he was the only person in the house. Butler wasn’t charged. It was then that he really put everything into changing his life around.

“He just uncuffed me and said, ‘I hope I’m not making a mistake,’” Butler said of the cop who gave him a second chance at life.


And the rest is what we call NBA history.

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