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After a breakout season that saw him make the All-Star team and win Most Improved Player, Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler was rewarded with a five-year, $95 million contract.
And Butler, literally, has no intentions of looking back.
Butler’s rise has been a storied one. Butler came from a rough background in which he grew up without his father, was kicked out of his mother’s house, played a year in junior college before transferring to Marquette, and didn’t get drafted until the 30th pick in 2011. Now, he’s a max. contract player in the NBA.
In a profile by Chicago Magazine’s Bryan Smith, Butler said he wants to put his past behind him so much that he removed the rearview mirror from his car so that he can’t look back.
Questions about driving safety aside, Butler actually has some pretty good reasoning.
“It’s because I don’t ever want that to define me,” he told Smith. “I hated it whenever it came up because that’s all anybody ever wanted to talk about. Like, that hasn’t gotten me to where I am today. I’m a great basketball player because of my work. I’m a good basketball player because of the people I have around me. And if I continue to be stuck in the past, then I won’t get any better. I won’t change, I’ll get stuck as that kid.”
“That’s not who I am,” Butler continued. “I’m so far ahead of that. I don’t hold grudges. I still talk to my family. My mom. My father. We love each other. That’s never going to change.”
Butler was the winner of one of the greatest gambles in recent memory in the NBA. Butler, at the time a high-end role player, turned down a four-year, $40 million contract extension from the Bulls last season, gambling that he’d out-play it. His new $95 million deal proves that he obviously did.
So, as long as Butler is still using his side mirrors for safety purposes, he can be forgiven for not wanting to look backward.