In a Chicago Magazine profile on Jimmy Butler published today, the star guard talked about being buddies with Mark Wahlberg, "maybe" being the face of the Bulls, making outlandish bets with his friends, and taking issue with rearview mirrors. Wahlberg and Butler became friends soon after the actor stopped by the Bulls' training facility while shooting Transformers.
Mark said of the friendship:
“We just kind of clicked. For me, it’s exciting to see a young 20-something-year-old kid, who’s got the world basically in the palm of his hand, controlling his own destiny. Just to see the excitement in his eyes, but also a good, strong head on his shoulders. There are a lot of people who will try to come around and get on his good side to get something from him. And he knows that I don’t need anything from him, that all I’m trying to do is point him in the right direction.”
If you aren't familiar with Butler's past, it's because he really doesn't like talking about it. He grew up in Tomball, Texas and had a hard childhood. His mother kicked him out with he was 13, because she didn't like how he looked, and his father was never around. Wahlberg is filling that mentorship role. Because of his rough upbringing, Butler admitted to removing his car's rearview mirror because he doesn't want to look back anymore.
When talking about why he tries to avoid discussing his background, Butler told Chicago Magazine's Bryan Smith:
“It’s because I don’t ever want that to define me,” he says. “I hated it whenever it came up because that’s all anybody ever wanted to talk about. Like, that hasn’t gotten me to where I am today. I’m a great basketball player because of my work. I’m a good basketball player because of the people I have around me. And if I continue to be stuck in the past, then I won’t get any better. I won’t change, I’ll get stuck as that kid. That’s not who I am. I’m so far ahead of that. 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.”
When discussing the Bulls, he said something that might ruffle some feathers within the Windy City:
“I think people look at me now as kind of, maybe, the face of the Chicago Bulls,” he says. “When you think of the Chicago Bulls, yeah, you think Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, and Pau Gasol, too—but maybe every now and then you think of myself.”
Although diplomatic, that's still a cringe-worthy quote if you're a Bulls fan, especially amidst the rumors that he and D. Rose don't get along. Butler and a friend also talk about the time Jimmy gave him $5,000 for drinking copious amounts of syrup in a bet. Read the whole thing, it's pretty good.
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