Jimmy Butler III (born September 14, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Born in Houston, Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas, and played college basketball for Tyler Junior College and Marquette University. He was drafted with the 30th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Bulls. He is a two-time NBA All-Star and a three-time NBA All-Defensive Team honoree. In 2015, he was named the NBA Most Improved Player.
Butler was selected with the 30th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls. On December 9, 2011, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Bulls. During the lockout-shortened season, he appeared in 42 games all off the bench as he averaged 2.6 points and 1.3 rebounds per game in 2011–12.
In July 2012, Butler joined the Bulls for the 2012 NBA Summer League where he averaged 20.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in four games. On October 30, 2012, the Bulls exercised their third-year team option on Butler’s rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2013–14 season. Despite a strong summer league showing, Butler saw little playing time for the first part of the 2012–13 season. When Butler’s teammate Luol Deng, the NBA’s leader that year in minutes per game, suffered an injury prior to the January 19 game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Butler was finally able to start, and played all but 17 seconds in his first NBA start, recording 18 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. He continued to play at least 40 minutes in the Bulls’ next four games, with 43, 46, 44 and 45 minutes played against the Lakers, Pistons, Warriors and Wizards, respectively. On April 9, 2013, Butler scored a then career-high 28 points, starting in place of the injured Deng, in a 98-101 loss to the Toronto Raptors. By the end of the 2012–13 season, Butler had become a staple of the Bulls’ rotation, averaging 40.8 minutes per game in the postseason in just his second year in the NBA.
On July 9, 2015, Butler re-signed with the Bulls to a five-year, $95 million contract. The deal includes a player option for the fifth year. On December 9, he scored a career-high 36 points in a loss to the Boston Celtics. He topped that mark with 43 points on December 18 in a 147–144 quadruple overtime loss to the Detroit Pistons. On January 3, Butler broke Michael Jordan’s team record for points in a half, scoring 40 of his 42 after the break to lead the Bulls to a 115–113 win over the Toronto Raptors. Two days later, he recorded 32 points and a then season-high 10 assists in a 117–106 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. On January 14, he scored a career-high 53 points in a 115–111 overtime win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Butler also had 10 rebounds and six assists while making 15-of-30 field goals and 21-of-25 free throws to help the Bulls snap a three-game losing streak. He became the first Bulls player to score 50 points since Jamal Crawford in 2004. On February 5, Butler suffered a left knee strain in a game against the Denver Nuggets, and four days later, was ruled out for three to four weeks. He was voted to play in the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, but the injury forced him to drop out, and he was subsequently replaced in the East team by teammate Pau Gasol. In 2015, he was named the NBA Most Improved Player.
On January 2, 2017, Butler scored 52 points in a 118–111 win over the Charlotte Hornets. He was a point shy of his career high, which he got on January 14, 2016, and scored 20 points in the first half and 17 in the game’s final four minutes. He also had 12 rebounds and six assists while shooting 21-of-22 from the free-throw line.
Career highlights and awards
2× NBA All-Star (2015, 2016)
3× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2014–2016)
NBA Most Improved Player (2015)
Representing United States
Gold medal – first place 2016 Rio de Janeiro Team