Childhood & Early Life
Jimmy Butler was born on September 14, 1989, in Houston, Texas. He has an incredible history of overcoming obstacles to reach where he is now. His father abandoned the family when he was only an infant. His mother raised him in an impoverished household in the Houston suburb of Tomball. When he was 13 years old, his mother, Londa Butler, told him that she did not want him in her house any longer, saying “I don't like the look of you. You gotta go.” Homeless and afraid, Butler bounced back and forth between the homes of his friends.
Those years were definitely challenging for him. He stayed with each of his friends for a few weeks, never more. He did not want to be a burden on their families. He attended Tomball High School, where he was part of the basketball team. During his senior year, he caught the attention of Jordan Leslie, the future wide receiver for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). Leslie, who, as a freshman, played both football and basketball, challenged Butler to a three-point shooting contest. They became close friends afterwards.
After learning of Butler’s situation, the Leslie family opened their home to him. While Leslie’s mother and stepfather—who had seven children between them—were somewhat reluctant at first, they did not turn him away. He began to stay with them within a few months.
Butler accumulated a spectacular record during his time with the Tomball High School’s basketball team. He achieved an average of 10 points per game in his junior year. After being chosen as the captain in his senior year (2006-07), he registered an average of 19.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. As a result, he was picked as the Most Valuable Player of his team that year.
After graduating from high school, Butler was not heavily recruited by any professional basketball team and decided to enrol at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. There, as a freshman, he thrived, averaging 18.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. He subsequently garnered interest from Division I programs.
In 2008, he started attending Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on an athletic scholarship. In his sophomore year (2008-09), he delivered an average of 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game and recorded a free-throw percentage of .768. He was later promoted to the starting lineup as a junior during the 2009–10 season and averaged 14.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, earning the All-Big East Honorable Mention honours as a result. He also earned the same honours in his senior year, when he averaged 15.7 points per game.
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Jimmy Butler played 106 games for Marquette overall, averaging 12.0 per game. After he graduated from college, he was up for the 2011 NBA draft and was chosen by the Chicago Bulls as their 30th overall pick. He signed his rookie contract with the Bulls on December 9, 2011. That season witnessed the fourth and the most recent NBA lockout in the history of the league. Beginning on July 1, 2011, it lasted 161 days and set back the start of the 2011-12 season from 1 November to 25 December.
Butler played 42 matches in his debut season with the Bulls, scoring 2.6 points per game. The Bulls made it to the playoffs and Butler appeared in three games but he failed to score any points.
In the following season, Butler was part of the Bulls’ roster for the NBA Summer League. In the four games he played, he scored 20.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in average. Subsequently, his contract was extended through the 2013–14 season. However, he was not utilized that often until one of his teammates, Luol Deng, had an injury. Deng had to sit out and Butler was picked to replace him. By the end of the season, he had played 82 matches and registered an average of 8.6 per game.
The Bulls were in the playoffs in the 2013–14 season too. He appeared in 12 playoff matches, starting each one of them. With an average of 13.3 points per game, he performed better in the playoffs than in the regular season.
On October 30, 2013, his rookie scale contract was extended for another year. In a game against the Orlando Magic, Butler established a new Bulls record by being active on the court for 60 minutes. On June 2, 2014, he was included in the NBA All-Defensive second team.
The 2014-15 season saw Butler take the centre stage in the Bulls’ gameplay. He scored 32 points against the Denver Nuggets and 35 points against the New York Knicks. On 20 April, he registered a playoffs career high for the second straight game by racking up 31 points in the Bulls' 91–82 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
He followed that up with another playoff career-high with 33 points against the Bucks on 25 April. The Bulls eventually lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the semi-finals. In 2015, Butler became the first in the Bulls’ history to win the NBA Most Improved Player award.
On July 9, 2015, the Bulls offered a five-year, $95 million contract to Butler, who accepted it. The contract also granted him a fifth-year player option. He suffered a left knee strain on 5 February 2016 in a game against Denver Nuggets. Because of this, he was out for nearly four weeks and eventually missed the 2016 NBA All-Star Game.
He made his return on 14 March against the Toronto Raptors. In the Bulls’ last game of the season, which they played against the Philadelphia 76ers on 13 April, he scored triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
In his last season with the Bulls, Butler performed spectacularly. He played an important role in the Bulls’ victory in their season opener against the Boston Celtics on October 27, 2016, scoring a team-high 24 points. On 20 November, he registered a season-high 40 points against the Los Angeles Lakers.
He was hailed as the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played from 14 November to 20 November. At the end of the season, he had appeared in 76 games in the regular season with an average of 23.9 points per game and in six games in the Playoffs with an average of 22.7 points per game.
At the beginning of 2017-18 season, on June 22, 2017, the Bulls traded Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler subsequently played 59 games in the regular season with the Timberwolves, averaging 22.2 points per game and five games in the playoffs, averaging 15.8 points per game.
Since his rise to fame as one of the most promising talents in the present NBA roster, Butler has mended his relationship with his parents. He once said in an interview, “I don't hold grudges. I still talk to my family. My mom. My father. We love each other. That's never going to change.” There were rumours in the social media that his biological father is basketball legend Michael Jordan but they were unfounded.
In 2015, Butler dated a woman named Charmaine Piula, who is of Polynesian descent. A marketing representative for Auto-Owners Insurance, Piula loves to run, travel, shop, and party. They eventually split up as both were career-oriented individuals who did not have enough time for a relationship.
For a long while, Butler has been vocal about his admiration for actress Shay Mitchell, who rose to prominence for portraying Emily Fields in the Freeform series ‘Pretty Little Liars’. In 2016, they were seen together on multiple occasions, giving way to speculations that they were dating.
According to reports, Butler spent a considerable amount of his time in Los Angeles with Mitchell and less time with his teammates in Chicago. The relationship, if there was one, most likely has since ended as Mitchell has been spotted spending time with Matte Babel, an ET Canada reporter.