How Kobe Bryant inspired Caron Butler’s ‘second act’ after the NBA

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Butler says Kobe inspired him to create a legacy after the NBA originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Kobe Bryant's legacy has inspired NBA players of the past, present and future to create their own.

So it's no surprise that one season with the late, great Mamba yielded some life-altering perspective for Miami Heat assistant coach and former Wizards star Caron Butler. 

The two-time NBA All-Star and NBA Champion joined De'Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley, two young stars of the Sacramento Kings, for an episode of Uninterrupted's "Who's Interviewing Who?" 

Butler shared some of the lessons from his career, which ended in Sacramento but saw him spend the 2004-05 season with the Lakers. It was there that Kobe gave him a lesson that he wanted to pass on to Fox and Bagley.

"This is a spec of time that I'm going to have this platform," Butler said recounting the realization he came to in Los Angeles. "I didn't realize that until I went and joined forces with Kobe... where he was just talking to me about the importance of our second acts. Now this is in year three, year four and he's already talking about life after basketball."

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Even before his playing career came to a close, Bryant's second act had already begun through his mentorship of young athletes, his efforts to grow women's basketball and his philanthropy through the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation. 

Butler recounted Bryant telling him that, "your second act has got to be better than your first."

He heeded that advice, helping guide young players, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, who would go on to lead the NBA's advocacy for social justice last summer.

"My mind was just wrapped around, how can I create a legacy that's bigger than myself? How can I leave something and impact people from all walks of life, not just through the game of basketball, but all walks of life?," Butler said.

Butler, who counts entrepreneur, philanthropist and activist among his NBA titles, pinned a letter about injustice in American policing in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, detailing his personal experiences with the police growing up in Wisconsin.

Butler retired as an NBA player in 2018 after 14 seasons, working as a color commentator for NBC Sports Washington before joining the Miami Heat as an assistant coach in 2020. 

He told Fox and Bagley that their use of their platforms to create change makes him hopeful for the next generation.