Before Jimmy Butler became a national basketball star, his beginnings were much more humble…
Growing up in Texas, the basketball legend’s childhood was characterized by instability. After his father abandoned his family while he was still an infant, he continuously had a rocky relationship with his mother. By the time he was 13, his mother kicked him out of the house, and was left without a stable home.
During this challenging time, he found solace in basketball and played the sport throughout both middle school and high school. He even joined the high school basketball team and became friends with Jordan Leslie.
Forced to continuously jump from house to house, Butler found a forever home when a friend, Leslie, casually invited him over to spend the night and play video games. Although Leslie’s mother Michelle Lambert initially did not want a house guest for more than one or two nights, it didn’t take long before she offered him a permanent residence.
With a stable home to live in, Butler has the opportunity to build his skills and became a favorite on his high school basketball team. Despite his passion for the sport, his talents were initially overlooked by college recruiters.
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Following graduation, he enrolled at Tyler Junior College before transferring to Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he played college basketball for two seasons. By the time his college basketball career was coming to a close, Butler proved himself to be an impressive NBA prospect.
Jimmy Butler says Michelle Lambert made him who he is today.
In 2011, he was the last pick of the first round in the NBA Draft and was selected by the Chicago Bulls. Over time, he has become one of the NBA’s most talented and respected players.
Now playing with the Miami Heat in Florida, Butler amassed a total of 98 points across the span of two games, becoming one of five players in NBA playoff history to score that many points in that time frame. But, overall, Butler credited Lambert for his ability to have professional success in the game.
“I give her the credit for helping me become who I am. I love her. You would think she gave me birth,” he said of Leslie’s mother in 2011, according to ESPN. I talk to her every morning. She’s very loving. That’s my family. That’s Michelle Lambert. She is my mom.”
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