Although his hope was to contend for back-to-back NBA championships, Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Caron Butler is participating in his own championship season, that of being an exemplary father and spending much-needed quality time with his family.

“It would have been great if we had made it to the finals, but my family comes first always,” said Butler, who returned to his hometown of Racine, Wis., immediately following the Clippers’ season-ending playoff run. “With our season being so hectic and schedule so demanding, it was hard to keep up with my home life. That is hard for me, as being a father is the most important role in my life. I look at my family as a team, just as I look at my teammates as family. I have been very fortunate in my life and my career, but nothing is more gratifying than being a dad to all my kids.”

Butler has his hands full, keeping one eye on the NBA Finals and the other on three daughters all under the age of 8, as well as a daughter and son from previous relationships, Camary and Caron Jr. The Butler clan has traveled right alongside their father as he was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Dallas Mavericks to the Los Angeles Clippers within the last three years. After Butler was traded from the Wizards in the 2009-2010 season, a pregnant Andrea moved with their eldest daughter, Mia, to Dallas and their second daughter, Ava, was born on Father’s Day 2010.

After he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers this past December, Andrea, who was pregnant once again, moved the girls to the City of Angels. Finally, just after the New Year, they had their third daughter, Gia, completing their brood.

“I learn something from my kids every day,” said Butler. “Having four girls can definitely be a challenge, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I always say ‘family first,’ and it is a motto that I live by. Without my family, I wouldn’t be who I am on and off the court, and Father’s Day is a reminder of that love and support.”

Of the NBA Finals, Butler said, “I am not rooting for one team or the other, but I do think Miami will win it all,” said Butler. “This is LeBron and D [Dwyane] Wade’s time. It is a big stage for them once again, and they have to make plays to get over this hump. Kevin Durant is going for the home run with the scoring title and now wanting the championship. Russell Westbrook has matured so much, but this is the Heat’s series to lose.”