Leave Jimmy Butler Alone

 
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Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler is at the center of a lot of NBA drama right now. We watched his team struggle last night against the Lakers. He’s unhappy, demanding a trade, and not getting it. Why?

Because no team in their right mind wants to give up a Jimmy Butler.

You’ll see him villainized as the Timberwolves season continues to unravel (now 4-8 and fading fast), but the guy just wants to win. That’s who he is – and if you know his backstory, you can start to connect the dots.

Childhood

Butler grew up in a neighborhood called Tomball just outside of Houston. His father abandoned him when he was a child. At age 13, his mother kicked him out of the house, leaving him a homeless middle-schooler.

For the rest of his teenage years, he floated between friends’ houses before he was brought in by a family with seven kids.

This whole NBA gig was never the dream. He wasn’t highly regarded as a great high school player – ranked as the 173rd guard in the state of Texas – and he only averaged better than 10 points per game in his senior year.

Basketball

2007: Played at Tyler Junior College in Texas after not receiving a single offer from a Division I school.

2008-2011: Transferred to Marquette and earned All-Big East Honorable Mention, twice.

2011: Drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 30th overall pick.

Today, he’s a four-time NBA All-Star, a four-time All-NBA Defensive Second Team selection, and the 2015 Most Improved Player. He’s that guy.

So Before We Villainize Jimmy Butler…

Put that guy on a team with Andrew Wiggins, the top high school recruit and No. 1 overall pick.

Better yet, put that guy on a team with Karl Anthony-Towns, the number two high school recruit and No. 1 overall pick.

Put that guy on a team with both of those players (who had NBA stardom pegged since Day 1) and pay them lucrative amounts of money as the homeless kid from Houston outworks them every single day.

Still the villain?

“Everybody has their own story. Mine is different, but I don’t think it’s more important than anybody else’s. I work. When you work, good things happen.” – Jimmy Butler

 
Justin Tangnovember2018