Caron Butler Named to the 2007 NBA All-Star Team
The National Basketball Association announced today that Wizards forward Caron Butler has been named to the 2007 Eastern Conference All-Star team. Butler will join Washington’s Gilbert Arenas, who will start at guard for the Eastern Conference, at the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, to be played on Sunday, February 18th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This marks Butler’s first career All-Star appearance and the second time in three years that Washington has had two All-Star representatives.
Butler will join Washington’s Gilbert Arenas, who will start at guard for the Eastern Conference, at the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, to be played on Sunday, February 18th in Las Vegas.
Jose Argueta/Wizards photos
“I’m extremely happy and grateful to be selected as an All-Star,” said Butler. “I want to thank God, my family, the Wizards organization, my teammates, and especially the coaching staff for believing in me and giving me the confidence and the freedom to be me. I have become a better player because of that, and this honor is a tribute to that.”
“Congratulations to Caron,” said Wizards Chairman Abe Pollin. “Caron has been one of the keys to our team’s success this season and I’m glad the other coaches around the league have recognized this. He certainly deserves this honor, and I know I can speak for our fans when I say how thrilled we are that Washington will be represented by two All-Stars once again. What a great day for Wizards fans!”
“I am very happy for Caron,” said Wizards President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld. “This honor is well deserved. Caron has been playing at a very high level, and this is a reflection of what Caron has meant to the success of our team. He has worked very hard to get to this level, and I’m very proud of the player and the person that Caron has become.”
This will be the first All-Star appearance for Butler, who has helped lead the Wizards to the best record to date in the Eastern Conference (27-18). With the distinction of being the only player in the NBA averaging at least 20 points, eight rebounds, and two steals per game, Butler is averaging career-highs in almost every major statistical category, including points per game (20.6), rebounds per game (8.0), assists per game (3.9), steals per game (2.07), minutes per game (40.8), free throw % (.879) and field goal % (.478), and his 18 double-doubles in 45 games lead the Wizards.
“I’m proud to have Caron represent us at the All-Star Game,” said Wizards Head Coach Eddie Jordan. “We already knew that Gilbert would be there, but it’s nice that Caron has been given the well-earned distinction as well. He has certainly played at an All-Star level, and his toughness and leadership throughout the season has helped to elevate us to top tier of the Eastern Conference. He is very deserving of this honor, and I think it’s a credit to our entire team.”
In 2005, Arenas and Antawn Jamison both represented the Wizards in the All-Star game, and Arenas represented Washington last season. Prior to 2005, the last time Washington had two players in the All-Star game was when Jeff Malone and Moses Malone represented the Bullets in the 1987 All-Star Game.
“I worked really hard this summer, and all of the hard work is paying off. After last season, I gave my mind a rest. I took about a month and a half away from basketball and really enjoyed spending time with my family and with my children. But after giving my mind and body a rest, I really attacked it. I went to work. Coach Jordan told me I would be playing a lot of minutes, so I worked on my conditioning. I hired a chef and lost 10 to 15 pounds. I worked on everything…ball handling, extending my range, free throw shooting…all of the things that make you a better, more complete player. I worked on it all this summer.”
On his journey to making the All-Star team:
“After playing in the rookie All-Star game and then missing All-Star weekend during my sophomore year because of an injury, and then getting traded to LA, it really put things in perspective. I was playing in LA, beside Kobe, and averaging 17 points alongside a player who is very dominant with the ball, and alongside Lamar Odom as well. I learned how to play with stars, having played with Dwyane Wade before that."
"When I came here to Washington, Coach featured an equal opportunity offense. I felt like something could really happen here, and true enough we hit the ground running. Good things started to happen. Coach Jordan gave me more and more freedom and I really thought I had a chance. I dedicated my time last summer and look what came out of it. I couldn’t be happier with this, but I know there is still work to be done.”
On Coach Jordan blending the talents of three All-Star caliber players:
“He is a great coach and a great leader. He is our general and our leader. He directs us and he comes up with nice philosophies that work. We all get opportunities, we all get great looks, and we all cover for each other. That is the way the game is supposed to be played.”
On Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison:
“Playing alongside guys like that works to your advantage. When you find a defender running at you, we can do multiple things. They are at our mercy. That is the benefit of playing with two guys who are scoring 20 plus a night. Gilbert is one of the best one-on-one players in the league, and Antawn has been a 20 (points) and 9 (rebounds) guy his whole career. It’s a fun way to play.”
On Las Vegas:
“I got married in Vegas a couple of summers ago and it was pretty crazy, so I can only imagine what it is going to be like with all the celebrities and an event this big. I am just happy to be a part of it. I am extremely grateful and I am really going to soak this in and represent the Washington Wizards and the District well.”
On the possibility of Eddie Jordan coaching the Eastern Conference All-Star team:
“I hope it happens. This is a big year for Washington, DC. We all should go out there and represent it well. It would be great to have Coach out there with us. Everything is going in our favor. We are the top team in the East and hopefully we keep that up.”
On being welcomed by both the organization and the city:
“It is unbelievable how the fans took a liking to me and accepted me with open arms. I am extremely grateful to Mr. Pollin, Ernie Grunfeld and the coaching staff for taking a chance on me. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for this organization. It is a blessing and I am extremely happy, grateful and fortunate to be here.”