‘Ballaholic’ keeping his NBA dream alive 

The San Francisco Rumble of the American Basketball Association features an up-tempo, explosive brand of basketball with a “Ballaholic” leading a team comprised of home-grown talent.

Cardell Butler, who adopted the nickname at the age of 15 for his propensity to shoot whenever the ball was in his grasp, is one of three Rumble starters raised in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood.

Bouncing between a few San Francisco high schools, Butler’s court focus was limited to parks and rec basketball.

Realizing that he needed to separate himself from the various distractions in The City, Butler accepted an invitation from his aunt to live with her family in San Mateo.

“My junior year highlight was being academically eligible,” Butler recalls of his first organized high school hoops experience at San Mateo High School. “Senior season we won the Peninsula Athletic League championship.”

Averaging 32 points and 14 rebounds per game that year earned the 6-foot-4 guard future induction to the San Mateo High School Hall of Fame.

Butler played his final two years of collegiate basketball at Utah State after beginning his career at College of Southern Idaho. He still dreams of that shot at the final buzzer in the 2003 first-round NCAA Tournament game against Kansas, missing what would have been the tying 3-pointer as the Aggies lost to the Jayhawks, the eventual tournament runner-up. His final home game during his senior year playing against Cal State Fullerton with his mom, Rosaria Harris, in the stands is also permanently etched in his memory.

“I hit eight 3-pointers,” Butler said. “Still to this day something takes over. I’ve always played hard, but when she comes, there’s an extra boost. I’ll put up an extra 10 points.”

After earning his degree in sports psychology, Butler signed up with the And1 Mixtape Tour.

“The best basketball not in the NBA, that’s what And1 is,” Butler said of the professional streetball tour.

Butler’s only regret was turning down an invitation to the New York Knicks’ 2004 summer camp. Traveling in style across the country and overseas to Brazil, China, Korea and Singapore, playing the sport that he loved, Butler feared losing his spot with And1.

At the age of 29, Butler maintains hope for another opportunity to showcase his talents for an NBA club. Early in the ABA season, he is averaging 26 points, five rebounds, and six assists per game.

Yes, assists. Ballaholic can dish as well as shoot.

“Not only does he excite the audience, but he raises the level of play of the entire team,” Rumble general manager Eric Marquis said.

 

San Francisco Rumble

HISTORY: This is the Rumble’s fourth season in operation

NATIVES: The Rumble have three players on their roster — Cardell Butler, Chris Adams and Dante Sawyer — who hail from the Bayview-Hunters Point  neighborhood

COURT: Home games this year are played at City College of San Francisco Wellness Center gym

INFO: www.gorumble.net This is the Rumble’s fourth season in operation

NATIVES: The Rumble have three players on their roster — Cardell Butler, Chris Adams and Dante Sawyer — who hail from the Bayview-Hunters Point  neighborhood

COURT: Home games this year are played at City College of San Francisco Wellness Center gym

INFO: www.gorumble.net

About The Author

David Liepman

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