Jimmy “Buckets” has taken the NBA by storm this season. He seemingly came out of nowhere during his tenure with the Chicago Bulls, before signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves and ultimately getting traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Now, he is the leader and best player for a team that is in the Eastern Conference Finals with a chance to make the NBA Finals. Butler, quite frankly, has been an incredible star in the NBA during this decade.
But he didn’t just end up on the Miami Heat with a chance to play in the Finals, he had to work to get here. In fact, he probably had to work harder than any player in the NBA. Many people don’t know the story of Jimmy Butler, the player who literally came from the bottom to spearheading one of the most dangerous teams in the league with the Miami Heat. Here is the journey of the superstar Miami Heat swingman, starting from the very beginning.
Humble Beginnings: Homeless And Driven
Jimmy Butler was not blessed with the sort of beginnings that was supposed to lead to success. He never knew his biological father, and his mother disowned him at the early age of 13 years old. The words uttered to him that fateful day, “I don’t like the look of you”.
As a young kid, Butler did what he had to do and couch -hopped at friend’s places until he struck a friendship with fellow sports star Jordan Leslie who made the NFL. Butler continued working on his game until he was guided to college where he was a star for Marquette University.
Butler wasn’t an immediate star in college, as he was first labeled an “average player” that needed more work. And work is what Butler did, eventually lighting up Marquette University. Of course, Butler had to hit another hiccup. After a strong college career, he was only drafted as the last pick in the NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. While it is a blessing for any player to get drafted into the NBA, Butler knew he was better than the last pick in the draft and wanted to prove it.
A Fighter’s Chance: Butler Is A Star
Jimmy Butler was immediately recognized as a hard-working and humble kid that was happy to be playing in the league. Butler remained true to himself and stayed obedient, doing exactly what the coach wanted him to do. His hard work and patience paid off, as he came to life during the Bulls postseason run in 2013. Butler began to blossom into a starting player, and he would start for the Bulls the following season.
Jimmy Butler started for the Bulls every season after his solid performances in the 2013 playoffs, hitting his first major breakout in 2015. Butler averaged 20.0 PPG and 5.8 RPG while being a major factor on defense. His scoring improvement and also ability as a ball-stopper earned him his first All-Star appearance before winning the Most Improved Player of the Year Award. He went from homeless without direction to be the last pick of the NBA Draft, and eventually ending up as an All-Star for the Chicago Bulls.
Hiccups Along The Way But Now A Franchise Player And Miami Heat Superstar
Butler decided that he could not win in Chicago and found a new home with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves were an up and coming organization that had young phenom Karl Anthony-Towns in the mix alongside Andrew Wiggins. Butler felt he could be the man to deliver Minnesota to the Promised Land and help a young team grow together.
He played well averaging 22.2 PPG and 5.3 RPG in an All-Star season, but he did not click with both Wiggins and KAT as they seemed too immature and unfocused for him. Butler requested a trade and was moved to the Philadelphia 76ers.
With Philly, Butler helped guide the Sixers to the Eastern Conference Finals only to fall to the eventual NBA champions Toronto Raptors led by Kawhi Leonard. The following season, he opted to join the Miami Heat in a surprising move because the team had nothing left over from the remains of the “Heatles Era” that featured the likes of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
The Heat looked young and very far away from a championship, so many assumed he chose Miami for the weather and lifestyle. Butler was expected to immediately become the man for the team and help guide them to the playoffs in the East, although he was written off as a competitor to an extent.
But no one expected the Heat to be as dangerous as they are. Butler continued his hard work and it paid off, since his teammates all improved playing alongside him. Butler finished the regular season averaging 19.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 6.0 APG while being the heart and soul for the team that is currently in the Eastern Conference Finals.
A homeless kid that is now a superstar player for the Miami Heat with a chance to win an NBA title is something that only happens in a storybook, but this is the true story of the unbelievable rise of Jimmy Butler.