Jimmy Butler Living In Closet Prepared Him For NBA

Jimmy Butler Living In Closet Prepared Him For NBA

The one universal thing that everyone can agree on when it comes to Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler is that he is built differently than other players. He is just a little mentally tougher than a lot of his opponents.

This week, an interesting article by Ramona Shelburne of ESPN helped explain why that is the case.

Butler’s grittiness was partially forged by literally living in a closet.

Buzz Williams, Butler’s coach at Marquette, recounted the tale recently.

“One day Jimmy comes in and says, ‘Hey, Coach, you think I can sit in here?’ He’s standing at my door, and he’s pointing at the closet. And I was like, ‘Yeah, you can sit in there. That’s the closet. Why don’t you go sit in the locker room?’

“He was like, ‘No. If it’s OK, I’m going to go sit in here.’

“Williams and Butler didn’t know each other well at that point, but they had the unspoken bond of two men who’d come from small towns in Texas and succeeded despite long odds. So Williams just kind of nodded at Butler and let him sit in the closet for as long as he wanted.”

Countless players have come out and complained about how taxing and brutal living in the NBA Bubble has been for them over the past few months – but not Butler.

“People are talking about the bubble,” Williams added.

“He ain’t worried about that bubble. He thinks it’s perfect. You mean I don’t have to get on a plane? You mean I don’t have to pack up my stuff and go to a different hotel room? You mean we’re playing in the same gym every day? You mean I’m staying in the same bed every night?

“Oh, he’s right where he wants to be. He’d play every day for the rest of his career in a bubble.”

Butler is coming off a tremendous Game 5 showing against the Los Angeles Lakers. In the process of helping the Heat fight off elimination, he amassed 35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, 5 steals and a block while playing all but 48 seconds of the game.

Moreover, despite being defended by arguably the best big man in the NBA in Anthony Davis, Butler was immensely efficient – going 11 of 19 from the field.

After the game, a clearly exhausted Butler gave due credit to LeBron James, who he battled with all night long.

“That’s what really, really, really great players do,” he said.

“But we ain’t backing down. We ain’t shying away. We can go on the other end and do what we do. I think [James] had a hell of a performance tonight.”

James finished with 40 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals, including 12 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in the fourth quarter – but it just wasn’t enough.

When and where it mattered most, Butler simply beat him.

Game 6 between the Lakers and Heat is scheduled for Sunday afternoon. If LA emerges victorious, then obviously the championship goes home to Tinseltown and everyone moves on with their lives.

However, should Miami prevail – then suddenly the Lakers will be staring down a collapse similar to what happened between the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets.

Sunday’s outing will be very telling in terms of where both groups stand.

Does Butler have one last Hail Mary effort left in him? Time will tell.

Related: LSU Firing Bo Pelini After Latest Loss?

Anthony Amador

A graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.

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