They call him “Playoff Jimmy” for a reason.

Jimmy Butler has been lighting the NBA world on fire during this year’s postseason, leading the Miami Heat to a shocking victory over the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks, defeating them 4-1 in the best-of-seven first round of the playoffs. The victory prompted CBS Sports to declare Butler “the greatest playoff underdog in NBA history.”

As Butler and the Heat continue their 2023 NBA Playoffs run, here are some things you might not know about the 33-year-old basketball superstar.

Butler had a challenging childhood

Jimmy Butler’s father abandoned his family when Butler was an infant, and his mother kicked him out of their house in Tomball, Texas, when he was 13. “I don’t like the look of you. You gotta go,” was what she told him, Butler said.

Butler stayed with various friends for weeks at a time after leaving his family home. Despite their rocky past, however, Butler said in 2015 that he remains close with both his parents. “I don’t hold grudges,” he said. “I still talk to my family.”

Mark Wahlberg is one of his friends

mark wahlberg and jimmy butler, both wearing black t shirts, jeans, and sunglasses, sit on green lawn chairs outside on the grass
Mark Wahlberg and Jimmy Butler in Los Angeles in May 2015
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While playing for the Chicago Bulls in 2013, Butler met Mark Wahlberg while the actor was filming a Transformers movie in the Windy City. During a break from shooting, Wahlberg played a pickup basketball game at the Bulls practice facility and struck up a friendship with Butler. They have remained close ever since and have even vacationed in Paris together.

He was 2015’s Most Improved Player

jimmy butler, wearing a white chicago bulls jersey, blocks a basketball shot by demar derozan, who wears a red toronto raptors jersey
Jimmy Butler blocks a shot by DeMar DeRoan on December 28, 2015.
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Jimmy Butler won the NBA Most Improved Player Award for the 2014-15 NBA season, after improving from 13.1 points per game to 20, which was the 15th highest in the league that season. His 6.9-point year-over-year improvement was the highest among all players who had appeared in at least 40 games in each of those two seasons, according to the NBA.

“He is incredibly driven, and it is great to see all of the work that he has put in pay off for him and for us,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. Butler was the first member of the Bulls to win the Most Improved Player Award.

He broke one of Michael Jordan’s records

Not surprisingly, Michael Jordan holds a great many franchise records for the Chicago Bulls, but Butler broke one of them on January 3, 2016, during a 115-113 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Butler scored 40 of his 42 points in the second half, breaking Jordan’s previous Bulls record for most points scored in a single half by one.

He’s a big Neymar fan

Butler developed an interest in soccer during the 2016 Summer Olympics and was there when Neymar led Brazil to a gold medal during those games. He has been a huge fan of the soccer star ever since, and the two became friends shortly thereafter. “Jimmy has a big heart,” Neymar told The New York Times. “Our friendship is based on sincerity and honesty. He is shy, and at the same time, his fun side is what makes him different.”

He’s also a country music fan

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Butler is a big country music fan, as his fans who follow him on social media already know. In 2020, he shared a video on TikTok of himself singing along to “She Got the Best of Me” by country singer Luke Combs, followed by a similar video on Instagram in 2022. He also had a starring role in the music video for “Light it Up,” the hit single by singer-songwriter Luke Bryan.

He had a historic NBA Finals performance

lebron james, wearing a white los angeles lakers jersey, covers jimmy butler, wearing a black miami heat jersey, on a basketball court
LeBron James covers Jimmy Butler during Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals on October 11, 2020.
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One year after joining the Miami Heat, Butler helped lead the team to the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. The Lakers won the series in six games, but Butler recorded 40 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds in Game 3. This made him only the third player in Finals history to record a 40-plus point triple-double, along with Jerry West in 1969 and LeBron James in 2015.

Butler has his own coffee brand

jimmy butler wearing a gray shirt and black durag, holding a white coffee cup hear his mouth
Jimmy Butler’s Bigface coffee company was inspired by the player’s disappointing experience during the 2020 NBA bubble.
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When players were staying in the bio-secure NBA bubble in 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Butler was dissatisfied with the coffee selections, so he started brewing his own with specialty beans he ordered from El Salvador. He even started selling cups of it to other NBA players for $20 each. This was the start of his personal coffee brand, Bigface, and he has since started his own coffee company.

He matched another Michael Jordan record

jimmy butler, wearing a white miami heat jersey, is covered by marcus smart, wearing a green boston celtics jersey, during a basketball game
Jimmy Butler is defended by Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics during Game 7 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals on May 29.
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Butler particularly shined during the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics during the 2022 NBA Playoffs. He scored 41 points in Game 1 and 47 in a must-win Game 6, becoming the first player since Michael Jordan in 1988 to post multiple games with more than 40 points and four steals in the same series. Boston went on to win the series in Game 7.

Butler set a Heat franchise record for most 40-point playoff games

jimmy butler, wearing a white miami heat jersey, dunks a basketball into the net at a basketball court, as many fans in white shirts cheer him on in the background
Jimmy Butler dunks the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks during Game 4 of the Heat-Bucks playoff series on April 24, 2023.
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The Miami Heat shocked basketball fans by sending Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks packing in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Butler scored 56 points and 42 points, respectively, in the last two games of the series, making him the first Miami player to ever score back-to-back 40-point games in the postseason.

Game 5 also made Butler the first player in Heat history to have eight playoff games of 40-plus points, surpassing the previous record held by Dwyane Wade.

Editor’s Note: Connor McEvoy assisted with this story.
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Colin McEvoy
Senior News Editor,

Colin McEvoy joined the staff in 2023, and before that had spent 16 years as a journalist, writer, and communications professional. He is the author of two true crime books: Love Me or Else and Fatal Jealousy. He is also an avid film buff, reader, and lover of great stories.