The Jimmy Butler story is one that should be made into a movie. A 2011 ESPN interview with Butler as he prepared for the NBA Draft started like this: “I don’t like the look of you. You gotta go.” Butler said that’s the last thing he remembers his birth mother telling him at 13. Jimmy’s mother kicked him out.
That started a journey that is deserving of being turned into a movie. Butler bounced around from house to house, surviving as best he could with friends until a woman named Michelle Lambert came into his life. You really have to read that 2011 ESPN story from Chad Ford so the following will make sense.
Washington Post NBA reporter Ben Golliver shared a story Monday on how Lambert banned LeBron’s shoes in her house — where Jimmy ended up staying after a long journey to find a loving family — in 2015 as the Heat and Bulls (the team that would draft Jimmy) were locked in playoff battles because those shoes would be “disrespectful” to her adopted son.
I can see this part of the moving playing out right now. Sandra Bullock playing the part of Lambert, launching LeBron shoes out into the front yard. The whole family joining in. Shoes flying out windows. Doors.
“We are all attached at the hip. I give her the credit for helping me become who I am,” Butler said of Lambert during that ESPN interview. “I love her. You would think that she gave me birth. I talk to her every morning. She’s very loving. That’s my family. That’s Michelle Lambert. She is my mom.”
“Everyone doubted him, Lambert said. “His coach and principal in high school said he’d never amount to anything.” Butler is a Marquette graduate and has played nine seasons in the NBA, racking up $100M-plus in career earnings.
If you’re looking for a storyline to get behind, the Jimmy Butler story is one to root for. He told Chad Ford that he didn’t want people feeling sorry for him because his life has worked out. “There’s nothing to feel sorry about,” Butler said. “I love what happened to me. It made me who I am. I’m grateful for the challenges I’ve faced. Please, don’t make them feel sorry for me.”
Jimmy Butler hopes to add another layer to his amazing journey as the Heat meet the Lakers and LeBron Wednesday night (9 ET, ABC) in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Good luck wearing LeBron shoes into Michelle Lambert’s house that night or any night. You’ve been warned.
Heat & Lakers will face off in the NBA Finals. Michelle Lambert, who adopted Jimmy Butler when he was homeless teenager, told me in 2015 that LeBron James's sneakers were banned in her house because wearing them would be "disrespectful" to Butler after Heat/Bulls playoff battles pic.twitter.com/BWOuU9rk48
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 28, 2020
— Marquette in Chicago (@MUChicagoAlumni) November 5, 2014