From Homeless at 13 to Greatest NBA Superstar and MVP Finals

Jimmy Butler’s life feels like something straight out of a Hollywood movie.

It is the basketball equivalent of ‘The Blind Side,’ the inspirational tale of Michael Oher’s journey from homeless teenager to NFL star made famous by the Sandra Bullock film.

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Jimmy Butler was taken in by Michelle Lambert when he was 17 years old. Credit: Alamy

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Butler was recently awarded the NBA Eastern Conference Finals MVP trophy. Credit: EPA

After being abandoned by his father as an infant, Butler’s mother kicked him out of the family home when he was just 13.

“I don’t like the look of you. You gotta go,” the Miami Heat superstar recalled his mother’s last words to him.

It was a moment that could easily have broken the teenager from Tomball, Texas, as he bounced around from house to house over the next four years.

But a turning point came in Butler’s senior year of high school when he forged a friendship with Jordan Leslie during a shooting contest at basketball camp.

The two student athletes quickly became friends, and soon afterward, Leslie’s mother Michelle Lambert decided to take in Butler despite already having seven children of her own.

Lambert insisted on settling some ground rules for Butler, including having a curfew and improving his grades at school.

With the prospect of finally having some stability in his life, he was happy to accept.

“I told him my kids looked up to him,” Lambert told ESPN.

“He had to stay out of trouble. Work hard in school. He had to set an example. And you know what? Jimmy did it.

“Anything I asked him to do, he did it without asking questions.”

Butler is forever grateful for the opportunity given to him by Lambert, someone who he now calls his “mom.”

“They accepted me into their family,” Butler said.

“And it wasn’t because of basketball. She was just very loving.

“She just did stuff like that. I couldn’t believe it.”

Butler’s basketball career soon took off, and he averaged 19.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game for Tomball High School Cougars in his senior season.

The prospect of an NBA career seemed distant at best, however, with Butler only able to secure a scholarship at nearby Tyler Junior College after he was overlooked by bigger universities.

After an impressive season at Tyler, the offers came flooding in for Butler, including Marquette, Kentucky, Clemson, Mississippi State, and Iowa State.

Butler chose to transfer to Marquette in 2008, and he soon began to attract the attention of NBA scouts after game-winning shots against the University of Connecticut and St. John’s

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