Ex-NBA player Willie Burton among contenders for Dixon’s running mate

Former Minnesota great Willie Burton speaks after his No. 34 jersey was retired at Williams Arena during an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan State, Sunday, Jan.  26, 2020, in Minneapolis.

Lansing — Former National Basketball Association player Willie Burton of Bloomfield Hills is among a small group of contenders being considered by Republican Tudor Dixon to be her running mate as she campaigns for Michigan governor.

A source with knowledge of Dixon’s process who was not authorized to speak about the development told The Detroit News on Sunday of Burton’s involvement in the discussions.

Burton, 54, played high school basketball at St. Martin De Porres in Detroit before attending the University of Minnesota and being drafted in the first round by the Miami Heat in 1990.

Former Minnesota great Willie Burton speaks after his No. 34 jersey was retired at Williams Arena during an NCAA college basketball game against Michigan State, Sunday, Jan.  26, 2020, in Minneapolis.

Burton went on to found Excel U, an evidence-based behavioral change curriculum, according to his LinkedIn page. In May 2020, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed him to the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports. At the time, the governor’s office said Burton was a high school athletics program associate for the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Dixon, a conservative commentator and businesswoman from Norton Shores, won the Republican nomination over four other candidates in the Aug. 2 primary to challenge Whitmer in the November election.

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