thrown out on the street by his mother at 13, now ready to lead the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals

Miami Heat is one win in the NBA-Finals – Tuesday night they try to sweep Boston Celtics. Big man in the Heat is Jimmy Butler (33). Thrown out on the street at thirteen by his mom, now a superstar in the NBA. ‘I don’t care what everyone says.’

Frank Dekeyser

In match two, he faced Grant Williams of the Celtics. Challenged by his opponent. Butler grinned once, leading his team to a 24-9 intermediate sprint after the incident. “I don’t know if I’m the best person to talk to like that,” he said afterwards. “It makes me smile.”

A tiff between Butler and Grant Williams.  Image Getty Images via AFP

<cite class="artstyle__figcaption__caption">A tiff between Butler and Grant Williams.</cite><span class="artstyle__figcaption__credit">Image Getty Images via AFP</span>

“Everything is possible.” That’s Butler’s motto. “All my life, people have doubted me. I was too small or not fast enough.” In junior college, he mainly had to hand over the ball to his better teammates. Wasn’t he highly regarded.

Difficult period

Butler grew up Houston. Abandoned at a young age by his father. And thrown out of the house by his mother when he was thirteen. She said: ‘I don’t like the look of you’. You have to go.” He stayed with several friends during that period. “Don’t make the story bigger than it actually is,” asks Butler, who has now reestablished a good relationship with his parents. “I didn’t live under a bridge or anything. That’s being homeless. Or standing on a corner begging for money. I shouldn’t do such things. Was it an easy time? No, don’t get me wrong. But I had a home. Several, even.”

It is only later that he is really accepted into a family. In Tomball, Texas. Michelle Lambert, mom of ex-American football player Jordan Leslie, took him in. He also went to school there.

From high school in Tomball it later went to Marquette in college. And in 2011, Butler was drafted in the first round by the Chicago Bulls. He would stay there for six seasons. After wanderings at Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76’ers, he moved to Miami four years ago.

With the Heat he reached the Finals in the corona year 2020 – then beaten in six games by LeBron James’s Los Angeles Lakers. That they are now one win from another Finals, the Heat – seeded eighth after a rotten season – owes much to Butler. ‘Playoff Jimmy’ averages 29.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 13 games in these playoffs.

Fan of PSG

Miami beat superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks and the New York Knicks in the previous rounds. That they are now ahead against the Boston Celtics is a three-quarter miracle.

Butler is good friends with actor Mark Wahlberg. “A fantastic person, he has had a great influence on my career.” He is a fan of Paris Saint-Germain, posed in the past with Neymar and Mbappé.

And he is someone who is bursting with confidence. When the Heat got off to a bad start to the current season, he told American media in November. “We are still going to win the championship. I don’t care what everyone says. Write us off, let’s go f***ing win championship. I tell you.”

Butler is still convinced of that. After the victory in the second game against the Celtics, he posted on Instagram: ‘six’. Six. The Heat still needed that many victories. At the moment there are still ‘five’. Five.

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