Jimmy Butler

What if your mother told you, ‘I don’t like the look of you.  You gotta go.’  What would you say? What could you say?

What if she told you this when you were just 13 years old?
Maybe you’d go to your dad, get his support, learn why she’s suddenly turned her back on you.  But, what if your father acted much like your mother, but instead felt the same years before and left when you were just an infant?  What would you do then?

How does anyone stay on the right path to success when their parents give up on them so young?

He doesn’t like to discuss it much, but these events have led Jimmy Butler to overcome odds of all sorts and have willed him to a successful and productive second season for the Chicago Bulls; one that might secure his place in the N.B.A. and, hopefully, with the Bulls.

Although barely used and hardly noticed in his first season, Butler has emerged as not only a reliable player off the bench, but as a starter as well, filling in recently for Luol Deng, who was out briefly with a hamstring injury.  While Butler isn’t flashy, he is truly a complete player, and one who is constantly showing signs of improvement (so far in his brief 2-year career, he’s averaging 5 points a game.  The last ten games he’s averaged 14.6).

The praises are even coming in from Coach Tom Thibodeau (below), a man of very few (encouraging) words:  ’….he’s a big part of this team…..he can guard, he can score, play multiple positions, make hustle plays.  He’s doing a lot for us.”

I’ve come to love Jimmy Butler.  There’s no bullshit to him; he’s young, unselfish, devoid of any stupid and distracting tattoos that plagues much of professional sports/entertainment, is known to have a strong work ethic, and is still hungry to prove something.  He may have secured his place in the league, but I have a feeling Jimmy Butler is bound to do much more than just stick around.

After not getting selected to the 2013 Rising Stars Challenge game (where the best rookies and second-year players play against each other), this is what he had to say:  ‘‘Kudos to those guys because they’re great players, and they’re really talented, but I love this team, and I want to play alongside these guys. I’ll do whatever it takes for this team to win. I’m a competitor, and I would have competed in that game, of course, but I’m a Bulls player, to tell you the truth.’’

There are many players who are still waiting for their opportunity to prove their worth, and sometimes it comes with time, but it also happens when a starter like Deng gets injured.  Either way, it’s up to the player to make the most of it.  Jimmy has been rising to the occasion since he was a child; earning big time minutes in the N.B.A. is merely just another step in this young man’s life.

Daaaaaaaaaaaaa Bulls.

P.S. –  He was very kind to Ashley.  When she was down in Atlanta for work last year, the Bulls happened to be playing the Hawks at that same time.  The night before the game (Ashley got to go for work) she ran into a few of the players at a popular restaurant downtown.  She noticed them on her way out and felt compelled to say something (she’s become quite the Bulls fan).  While some of the players acted too cool, Butler was the only one to make conversation with her, even joking to take her leftovers.  He didn’t exactly record a triple double that game, but moments like that make a fan even prouder.

(here’s a video of Jimmy discussing his upbringing, right before he was selected by the Chicago Bulls in 2011)

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