Caron Butler shoots hoops at Bray YMCA

Caron Butler, former NBA player and Racine native, shoots hoops at the reopening of the Bray Center on Feb. 23, 2017.

RACINE — The basketball court allowed him to achieve fortune and fame, and now Racine native and former NBA player Caron Butler plans to donate a court to the City of Racine.

Through a partnership with Nancy Lieberman Charities, Butler is donating a full high school-sized basketball court to be placed at Roosevelt Park, 601 21st St., near the Dr. John Bryant Community Center.

The court is scheduled to be unveiled at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at the Bryant Center’s Juneteenth Day celebration.

Butler, along with Racine Mayor Cory Mason and Racine Police Chief Art Howell, are set to be present at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the new basketball court, known as the “Dream Court,” which will also include a playground and two other courts, soon to be built.

“This will be the biggest and most significant Juneteenth Celebration yet,” Butler said. “It will showcase black excellence at its finest. This is about living well, having fun and appreciating everything and everyone. We are going to have a beautiful time.”

The court will be provided by Sport Court and assembled. It is built to be movable, but city officials say they likely won’t change its location after it is placed.

Butler first picked up a basketball at the Dr. John Bryant Community Center at 5 years old, and has since used his platform as a 15-year NBA veteran, entrepreneur and philanthropist to give back to the Racine community.

“This event is about community coming together,” Butler said. “Everyone involved with the center, the city and the citizens of Racine, have their mark on this important day. I am so proud to be in a position to be able to host a basketball clinic and officially open the first Dream Court during a day that means so much. I played basketball all over the country, but there is no place like home.”

Butler hosts basketball clinic

City officials are excited about the new court coming just in time for summer.

“Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services is pleased to work with Caron Butler to bring the first ‘Dream Court’ to a park that is home to Caron Butler and the Dr. John Bryant Community Center,” said Tom Molbeck, director of Racine Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services. “I see the ‘Dream Court’ used heavily by youth and adults and the Juneteenth Celebration is the perfect place to introduce it to the community. We look forward to working with Caron on future projects.”

Mason said Butler’s “commitment to the community is amazing. Someone should name a street after that guy.”

Aside from unveiling the court at the June 15 Juneteenth celebration, Butler will also host a free basketball clinic, and there will be other events:

  • 9 a.m. — Caron Butler basketball clinic
  • 11 a.m. — Wellness clinic with Dr. Keita Joy
  • Noon — Basketball games and Children’s Corner begin
  • Noon — Gospel Explosion begins with choirs from across the city
  • 3 p.m. — Dream Court ribbon cutting
  • 4 p.m. — Hip Hop performances begin
  • 5:30 p.m. — R&B performances begin

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Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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