Mark Wahlberg -- actor, producer, Funky Bunch ringleader and die-hard Boston sports fan -- could soon be adding another project to resume: The movie version of Caron Butler's autobiography, Tuff Juice: My Journey from the Streets to the NBA.
Wahlberg has reached a deal with the Kings forward to finance and produce his biopic, according to a Tuesday press release.
Tuff Juice tells the story of Butler's journey from a gang-affiliated youth on the streets of Racine, Wisconsin, to a successful NBA career spanning 14 seasons.
Perhaps the most dramatic section of the memoir deals with Butler's time as a Wizard, where he was present for the locker room altercation that culminated in Javaris Crittendon pointing a loaded gun at Gilbert Arenas. Both players were suspended for the remainder of the season.
So how did Wahlberg become involved? He and Butler became friends in 2011 while the veteran forward was playing for the Clippers. When Tuff Juice was published, Butler sent Wahlberg a copy.
“[Caron is] a perfect example to all the young kids growing up in tough neighborhoods to never give up on your dreams," the Wahlberg said.
The actor/producer knows about overcoming rough beginnings from personal experience. As an adolescent, he became involved with drugs and gangs. His life of crime culminated in a felony assault conviction and two years in prison before he was able to turn things around.
Defying the odds to forge success is the central theme of Tuff Juice.
“I wanted to tell my story because I’m living proof that it is possible to overcome adversity and make a better life for yourself and your family,” Butler said. “The response from the book was overwhelming and when someone like Mark Wahlberg tells you that your life could be a movie, you listen."
The film is likely some years away, but the idea has been simmering for months. While in town to play the Wizards in December, Butler hinted as much.
“I’m working on something from the book,” he said at the time. “It’s interesting. Keep watching.”
And who would Butler cast as himself for the movie? Creed actor Michael B. Jordan, of course.
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