CALEDONIA — “I’m still 262,” Caron Butler said with a laugh while chatting with a fan and sipping hot chocolate Monday night.
The Racine native and former NBA All-Star was in town for a couple hours on Monday after flying in from Los Angeles.
At 7 p.m. he boarded a bus loaded with more than a dozen local kids at the Dr. John Bryant Community Center, located on the Racine street recently renamed for Butler. They headed to Caledonia, where Butler accepted a $3,000 check on behalf of the Racine County Food Bank while standing on the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train.
Hours later, Butler was on another plane headed for the nation’s capital; the retired 6-foot-7 forward is a television analyst for the Washington Wizards, one of his former teams.
It was an incredibly busy day. But Butler said: “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“This is what it’s all about: community,” he said, regarding bringing together people from the city and others from the more rural parts of his home county. “It’s important for kids to experience things beyond their normal world … something beyond themselves.”
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It’s moments like that that’s kept Butler so beloved in his hometown, even since his pro basketball career ended in 2016. Even single nights (like a community event with a couple hundred people cheering on a train) can create “lifelong experiences and memories” for people, Butler said.
He repeated himself: “This is what it’s all about.”
While accepting the donation to the Racine County Food Bank, Butler told the hundreds of people gathered: “This is extremely special … I love you, and much love, man.”