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From Homelessness to NBA Stardom: Jimmy Butler’s Eventful Journey to The NBA

Harrison Downard

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Classifying Jimmy Butler’s road to the NBA as miraculous is an understatement. From a small town outside of Houston, home to just over 10,000, Jimmy was born in 1989. The Texan was constantly immersed in sports. With football as his first love, basketball made its entrance into his life when he was in his early teenage years. When Jimmy was thirteen, his mother met him with the devastating words, “I don’t like the look of you, you gotta go.” With no father in his life from the start, he was forced to fend for himself. Left with no other option, he bounced around from different teammates’ houses sleeping on couches.

Jimmy kept this habit for several years, until his senior year of high school. It was his final year in high school when Jimmy found a long-awaited home. One of his closest friends, Jordan Leslie, sensing his situation, opened up his doors for a friend. Night after night, he stayed over. Weeks turned into months, and the family loved his company. Eventually, the house already containing 7 kids, added one more. A house became a home, and friends became family. Jordan’s mother, Michelle Lambert and her family let Jimmy into their hearts and home. The unbreakable bonds formed quickly, propelling Jimmy Butler into becoming an even greater high school standout. Despite his success in his last two years at Tomball High School, he was not heavily recruited.

Jimmy landed at Tyler Junior College. During his first and only season at Tyler, Butler earned the attention of a scout who had his eyes on one of his fellow teammates. The scout, Buzz Williams, found something unique in his game. When becoming head coach of Marquette University, Buzz offered Jimmy a scholarship. Upon receiving the phone call at 2:00 am, Butler was thrilled. Taking the court the next season, he averaged 5.6 points. In his sophomore year, Jimmy nearly tripled that number, scoring 14.7 points per game on average. In his college career, Jimmy performed miraculously. In his three years at Marquette, he converted just over 50% of his shot attempts. During these college times, Jimmy battled shyness and was homesick. His faith prevailed as he soared into an NBA Draft prospect.

With the last pick in the first round, the Chicago Bulls added Jimmy Butler to their roster. Head Coach, Tom Thibodeau, said, “His make-up will allow him to improve each year.” Since his subtle emergence in the league, Butler has become a star. Playing alongside Derrick Rose, the two carried the team. His time to fully take over the team came when Rose left to join the New York Knicks. In just six years in the NBA, Butler has taken the league by storm. So far, he has won the NBA’s Most Improved Player, scored over 6,000 points, and has become the 12th Chicago Bulls player to win an Olympic Gold Medal. The young Bull has also shot around with the greatest of all time, Mr. Jordan. Most recently, Butler has dropped a career high of 52 points in an overtime game against Jordan’s own team: the Charlotte Hornets. His countless jaw-dropping performances this season have not only clinched the Bulls a playoff berth, they have also put their leader in MVP conversation. The sky’s the limit for Jimmy Butler and, who knows, the best may be yet to come.  

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1 Comment

One Response to “From Homelessness to NBA Stardom: Jimmy Butler’s Eventful Journey to The NBA”

  1. Omar Ramirez on April 14th, 2017 1:19 pm

    Wait how many championships does Jimmy Butler have though?

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From Homelessness to NBA Stardom: Jimmy Butler’s Eventful Journey to The NBA