During his four years on UCR’s men’s basketball team, Kevin Butler was known as much for his business-like attitude both on and off the court as he was for his speed, hustle and leaping ability.
So when Butler, who graduated from UCR in 2004, was selected to compete in ESPN’s “City Slam” television show, he became “The Business.” “City Slam” features some of the best street-ball players from Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and Chicago in a dunk contest and three-point contest.
It was Butler’s association with the Young Players Association (YPA) Street Ball team, which plays in regional tournaments across the country, along with his skills and athletic prowess that helped get him chosen for the competition.
During the August 2005 competition, Butler impressed the All-Star judges, consisting of former NBA stars Dee Brown, Spud Webb, Michael Cooper and Damon Jones, with 29 out of 30 possible points in the opening. In the “Tribute Dunk,” Butler performed a windmill dunk made famous by Michael Jordan, earning 27 points.
During the third round Butler was one of three competitors to get to the 60-inch barrier in the high-jump dunk. During the final free-style contest, Butler completed a reverse dunk and a two-handed 360 degree dunk.
“I was the last dunker and tied for first place entering the round. As the judges were giving the scores, I was putting my UCR business education to use, mentally calculating the totals,” Butler said. “When the final score of nine points was given by Michael Cooper, I knew I had won.”
He won by a half point and received $5,000 and went on to compete and finish fourth in the City Slam Finals in Chicago. With City Slam behind him, Butler is working to establish himself in real estate and establishing a company to promote basketball and athletic fitness training.
But he is not walking away from the basketball court just yet. “My next step is playing professional basketball in the ABA (American Basketball Association) for the San Francisco Pilots. From there, only time will tell. I will be working my hardest and giving my all to make my basketball dreams come true.”