Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler admitted he almost quit basketball entirely during his time at Marquette University as a freshman, playing under Golden Eagles former coach Buzz Williams. The Sixers star told Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report about the time he almost called it quits before even reaching the NBA level.
Asked of the saddest time of his life, Butler quickly brought up that painful memory without hesitation.
“I would probably say when I wanted to quit basketball forever at Marquette,” said Butler. “I was like ‘You know what? This basketball thing ain't for me'”
Butler, a Tomball, Texas native, was offered a scholarship to play in Marquette, a university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin — a much different ecosystem than his hometown.
Asked of what made him almost take that decision, Butler was blunt and transparent.
“You're so far away from home,” said Butler. “To be honest with you, I didn't do no research. I didn't know that it snowed, I didn't know that it got cold. I didn't know anything. So I went up there like I was still in Texas — basketball shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops.”
The Texas native was only getting 20 minutes of playing time and averaging 5.6 points per game as a freshman; a rather reluctant 3-point shooter with untapped potential.
Butler also cited his former teammate Joe Fultz as one of the people that helped him get through this part of his life, one that ultimately would take a turn for the better as he made his way up the ranks in the NBA.
Butler stuck with basketball and declared for the draft after his junior season, drafted with the last pick of the first round by the Chicago Bulls, which he would make his home for the next six years.