The Fascinating Life of Jimmy Butler — NBA Champion and Entrepreneur

Jason Hanold
4 min readJan 25, 2024

Jimmy Butler is a six-time NBA All-Star and five-time All-NBA Team honoree who is best-known for his successes with the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat. In 2016, Butler was on the gold medal winning US Team at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. In addition to an extremely successful career in professional basketball, Jimmy Butler also launched a coffee brand. Under his registered Bigface Coffee trademark, he sells coffee beans, merchandise, and an assortment of baked goods.

Here’s what you need to know about his fascinating life and career transition:

Early Life

Born in Houston, Texas, in 1989, Jimmy Butler had a challenging childhood. He was only an infant when his father left the family. At the age of 13, Butler’s mother threw him out of their home after essentially saying he looked like trouble. Growing up in the Houston suburb of Tomball, Butler stayed in the homes of various friends, living with each for a few weeks before moving on.

While Butler was playing in Tomball High School’s summer basketball league, he and freshman basketball player Jordan Leslie became close friends after challenged Butler to a three-point shooting contest. Despite having a half dozen children between them, Jordan Leslie’s mother and stepfather took Jimmy Butler in and treated him as one of their own.

Despite averaging 19.9 points per game and earning recognition as Tomball’s most valuable player, Jimmy Butler was not heavily recruited coming out of high school. He enrolled at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas, where he averaged 18.1 points and 7.7 rebounds as a freshman. It was then that he caught the attention of Division I programs.

NCAA Division I

Jimmy Butler accepted an athletic scholarship at Marquette University, averaging 5.6 points per game in his sophomore season from 2008 to 2009. As a junior in the 2009 to 2010 campaign, he averaged 14.7 points per game and are earned All-Big East Honorable Mention Honors. His season highlights were two big game-winning shots against St. John’s and Conn, helping Marquette to earn its fifth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and finish 11–7 in the Big East.

As a senior, Butler averaged 15.7 points per game in the 2010 to 2011 season, earning an All-Big East Honorable Mention for the second year running. Butler’s well-rounded game and tenacious defense helped push the Golden Eagles to triumph in the NCAA Division I tournament in each of his three seasons with Marquette University.


In the final pick of the first round of the NBA draft, Jimmy Butler was selected by the Chicago Bulls. Butler was initially used by the team as a defensive stopper, but in moderation. It was not until his third season with the team that Jimmy Butler became a full-time starter, averaging 13.1 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

In the 2014 to 2015 NBA season, Jimmy Butler got his big break, upping his scoring to 20 points per game and earning All-Star honors as well as the NBA’s Most Improved Player accolade. Butler earned All-Star recognition in each of the next two seasons, setting a career high by averaging 23.9 points per game in the 2016 to 2017 season. However, despite his individual merit, the Chicago Bulls failed to make it past the second round of the playoffs in his six seasons with the team.

After two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jimmy Butler was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he was a dominant on-court presence alongside fellow All-Stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The trio’s presence helped the team become one of the league title favorites, and it earned the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs by the end of the regular season. However, after a convincing first-round win, the Philadelphia 76ers lost in a painful game against the Toronto Raptors, who went on to win the series.

It was at this point that Jimmy Butler found himself a free agent for the first time in his career. Butler signed a four-year contract with the Miami Heat worth a reported $142 million. In 2023, the NBA superstar led the team to its second NBA finals in four years, taking his own game to new heights and prompting CBS Sports to declare him “the greatest playoff underdog in NBA history.”

Entrepreneurial Endeavors

In addition to his hugely successful NBA career, Jimmy Butler has been steadily growing his retail business, Bigface Coffee, through an ecommerce partnership with Shopify. Determined to be “in on every Zoom call, every meeting, and every sourcing trip, no matter where it is,” the six-time NBA All-Star has combined his love of competition and coffee to establish his own coffee brand.

Jimmy Butler started the business during the pandemic, selling his fellow NBA players coffee at $20 a cup using his own espresso machine and beans sourced from El Salvador. Committed to getting the “best coffee and best experience out to the world,” Jimmy Butler highlights the power of people bonding over the beverage. His goal? Opening Bigface cafés all over the world.



Jason Hanold

Executive Recruiter, clients NFL, Google, Patagonia, Under Armour, Gucci, Nike, Northwestern, eBay, UFC, Vail, REI, Electronic Arts, Live Nation, #HR #Recruiter