Jimmy Butler: From Homeless Teen to NBA Superstar


“I don’t like the look of you. You gotta go.”

Those were the last words 13 years old Jimmy Butler’s mother said to him before she kicked him out of the house onto the rough streets of Tomball, Texas. With no other family around to take him in, the Chicago Bulls Guard bounced from house to house. It wasn’t until his senior year of high school when Michelle Lambert, the mother of one of his friends decided to add him into their family of 8. This new found stability in Jimmy’s life propelled him from an unranked player to the star of the Tomball High School Cougars, where he averaged 19.9 points and 8.7 rebounds his senior season. However, despite his breakout season Butler did not receive any Division 1 offers besides Mississippi State which did not even offer him a scholarship. Jimmy fortunately did not let this deter him from his dream, regardless of all of the hardship and adversity he was facing. He decided to enroll and play ball at Tyler Junior College, and proceeded to go off for 34 points in his first conference game. After dominating the competition and having multiple 30 – 40 point games, the offers and scholarships came flooding in. By April 2008, Jimmy had offers from Marquette, Clemson, Kentucky, Iowa State, and Mississippi State. Now having someone Jimmy trusted and could rely on, he turned Lambert to help him with this tough decision. “He had a lot of offers, but I was impressed by Marquette for academic reasons,” she said. “That’s a great academic school. I told him he should go there because basketball may not work out long-term. He needed a good education and a degree to fall back on. ” With his mother’s guidance, Jimmy went on to average 15.7 points for the Golden Eagles in his senior season and was made the 30th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Jimmy’s perseverance and hard work had finally paid off. The kid who had no parents, no money, and no home is now considered to be one of the best two-way players in the NBA.

“Please, I know you’re going to write something. I’m just asking you, don’t write it in a way that makes people feel sorry for me I hate that. There’s nothing to feel sorry about. I love what happened to me. It made me who I am. I’m grateful for the challenges I’ve faced. Please, don’t make them feel sorry for me.”
– Jimmy Butler


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