“I’m not a god-given talent. I ain’t the best shooter. I’m not the best ballhandler. Not the most athletic. Not the fastest. But I battle. I fight. I’m tough as s— and I don’t back down.” There goes my talent for you. I ain’t scared of nobody. Can’t scare me.” This is the attitude that Heat Point Guard Jimmy Butler brings to the court every time he steps on the hardwood. The five-time NBA all-star’s mindset was forged out of struggling through his early teens when his mother kicked him out of his house at 13.
It would take four years of staying with friends before Butler would find a permeant home with his best friend, Jordan Leslie. The family became more than just friends to Butler, they became his family. Butler was in awe of how Michelle Lambert, Jordan’s mom, treated him just like one of her own kids.
“They accepted me into their family, and it wasn’t because of basketball… She was just very loving. She just did stuff like that. I couldn’t believe it.”
With a strong support system behind him, his potential was limitless.
The Come Up
After graduating high school, Butler played one year of junior college in his home state of Texas. After his Freshmen year, he accepted a scholarship to Marquette. While at Marquette, Butler was a hard-nosed player that flew under the radar. In his three years there, he averaged 12 points a game. Although Butler didn’t have flashy numbers, he was still drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the last pick in the 2011 NBA draft.
After being drafted , Butler wanted his story to be one of hope for others who have been doubted and counted out. He told ESPN what his journey had taught him.
It’s taught me that anything is possible,” Butler said. “My whole life, people have doubted me. My mom did. People told me in high school I’m too short and not fast enough to play basketball. They didn’t know my story. Because if they did, they’d know that anything is possible. Who would’ve thought that a small-town kid would become a halfway decent player in college and now has a chance to be drafted in the NBA? That’s my chip. That’s what motivates me. I know I can overcome anything if I just take everything one day [at a] time.
Heating up the Bubble
In his first year with the Miami Heat, Jimmy Butler has personified the “anything is possible” mindset. This season he averaged 19 points per game and has helped lead the Heat to the conference final for the first time since 2014. His 5th seeded team turned heads by sweeping the 4th seeded Indiana Pacers and beating the number 1 seeded Milwaukee Bucks in just five games to arrive at the conference finals.
Heat vs. Celtics
On September 14, Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat will face off against the Boston Celtics to see who will advance to the NBA finals. While some consider the 3rd ceded Celtics a heavy favorite, Butler is not buying the underdog mindset telling ESPN,
“I think we’re supposed to be here. That’s how we think of it. To me, to us, that’s all that matters. We’re not underdogs. We’re competitors.”
While we don’t know what the outcome of the series is going to be, we do know something for sure; Jimmy Butler and the Heat are not scared of anyone.