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Caron Butler details 'Old West' gun showdown between Gilbert Arenas, Javaris Crittenton

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Never has a veteran locker room presence been so important.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Caron Butler only lasted one season in Detroit, but he's definitely one of "those guys" teams are happy to have around.

Being a veteran to show the young guys how to do things is often overblown, but in Butler's case it certainly applies, at least at his current rate of acceptable production.

The reason Butler's voice carries so much weight is not just because he's spent 13 years in the NBA and has a few All-Star appearances under his belt. It's because he lived a life.

It's well known that Butler definitely was headed down the wrong path before he found his salvation in basketball. Now, fans can read Butler's life story in his new book, "Tuff Juice: My Journey from the Streets to the NBA."

In the book, you can read about his upbringing and his NBA journey, but Butler's most famous NBA incident didn't even happen on the court. In 2009, then teammates Javaris Crittenton and Gilbert Arenas brandished guns in the Washington Wizards lockerroom, with Crittenton pointing a loaded gun at Arenas.

Not only is the incident even crazier than originally described, Butler seems to be the hero of the story.

Here is Butler's recounting of the incident via ESPN.com, which began with an argument about an $1,100 pot in a card game on the team plane:

The two of them kept arguing as we buckled up for the landing.

They were still going at it when we all got on an airport shuttle van to take us to our vehicles.

Ernie Grunfeld, the team president, leaned over to me and said in a pleading manner, "Talk to them."

"I did," I told him, "but they keep arguing."

Everyone could hear Gilbert and Javaris going at it as we rode along.

"I'll see your [expletive] at practice and you know what I do," Gilbert said.

"What the [expletive] you mean, you know what I do?" replied Javaris.

"I play with guns."

"Well I play with guns, too."

Two days later:

When I entered the locker room, I thought I had somehow been transported back to my days on the streets of Racine. Gilbert was standing in front of his two locker stalls, the ones previously used by Michael Jordan, with four guns on display. Javaris was standing in front of his own stall, his back to Gilbert.

"Hey, [expletive], come pick one," Gilbert told Javaris while pointing to the weapons. "I'm going to shoot your [expletive] with one of these."

"Oh no, you don't need to shoot me with one of those," said Javaris, turning around slowly like a gunslinger in the Old West. "I've got one right here."

He pulled out his own gun, already loaded, cocked it, and pointed it at Gilbert.

Other players who had been casually arriving, laughing and joking with each other, came to a sudden halt, their eyes bugging out. It took them only a few seconds to realize this was for real, a shootaround of a whole different nature.

They all looked at each other and then they ran, the last man out locking the door behind him.

I didn't panic because I'd been through far worse, heard gunshots more times than I could count, and seen it all before. This would have been just another day on the south side.

I talked calmly to Javaris, reminding him that his entire career, not to mention, perhaps, his life, would be over if he flicked that trigger finger.

I looked back at Gilbert. He was silent as he removed himself from the scene.

Javaris slowly lowered the gun.

The incident is crazy and almost seems unbelievable, but despite the inclusion of oddball Gilbert Arenas it was really no laughing manner. You may or may not be aware that while Crittenton never played in the NBA again, his life truly went downhill (in a path similar to where Butler's probably would have been without basketball).

Crittenton is serving a sentence of 23 years in connection with a 2011 murder in Atlanta.