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Oklahoma City Thunder: Much like the Thunder-Grizzlies series, Caron Butler's career has been full of twists and turns

by Jenni Carlson Published: May 2, 2014

That was tough on Butler and, since coming to Oklahoma City, he’s made no secret of his happiness. Watch him on the court during games and you’ll often see him with a big smile on his face.

“Winning,” Butler said. “Winning does that.”

Still, that joy is refreshing to see. Lots of times in the NBA, a big play will bring out a scowl or a stare-down. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it sure does make a guy who plays with a little glee and elation stick out.

Of late, Butler has added a new bit of fun to his routine. When he hits a long shot, he’ll mimic dialing it up on an imaginary phone.

Who’s he calling?

He isn’t saying.

But ...

“It’s long distance,” he said, that twinkle back in his eye.

Now, don’t mistake happiness for softness. Butler, who survived a tough childhood, isn’t afraid to mix it up. After he thought James Johnson took an unnecessary swipe at his face in Game 6, Butler gave Johnson a what-the-heck-was-that poke in the back.

The two had to be separated.

“He loves basketball,” Durant said of Butler, then launched into a story.

The first road trip that Butler made with the Thunder was to Phoenix. Durant wanted to go to the gym and get in some work, so he texted a couple guys to see if they wanted to go along. Even though he didn’t know Butler well, something told Durant to give him a try.

“And he was the first guy downstairs to come work out with me,” Durant remembered. “He just loves to play, loves to be on the court. You can just tell.”

No doubt about that, and heading into Game 7, you can bet no one inside the ’Peake will be more stoked than Butler. He uses words like “rejoice” and “love” to describe how he feels on the court these days.

“I’m in a good place, great fit,” Butler said, “and I’m just extremely happy to be playing.”

Twists and turns have led to something grand.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at, follow her at or view her personality page at

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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