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When you’re a big-name NBA player, you can afford to buy virtually anything you want. In recent years, that’s meant purchasing plenty of wine. While guys like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony on down have been known to sip on a nice glass of red, Jimmy Butler started out a bit differently.

Although the Miami Heat star has become passionate about wine, he wasn’t always an expert oenologist. In fact, his first encounter with the beverage came about after lying to Mark Wahlberg.

Jimmy Butler took the long road to NBA stardom

These days, Jimmy Butler is a top-tier NBA talent, capable of sipping virtually any vintage of wine he wants to try. The forward, however, didn’t always seem destined for stardom.

As a teenager, Butler’s mother kicked him out of the house. He bounced between friends’ houses, sleeping on couches until it was time to move on to the next home. Eventually, though, one family allowed him to stay.

Basketball success, however, still didn’t come easily. Butler ended up hitting the hardwood at Tyler Junior College. While he eventually earned a transfer to Marquette, he had to start out as a bench player and earn his minutes with hard work.

The forward showed enough with the Golden Eagles to join the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft. While it took some time and bouncing between several teams, Butler eventually found a home with the Miami Heat. There, he’s already shown the league what he can do.

Picking up habits from Mark Wahlberg

It’s not exactly surprising to hear that an NBA player has an extreme work ethic. Jimmy Butler, however, takes things to the next level.

The Miami Heat forward takes his inspiration from Mark Wahlberg, who famously wakes up in the wee hours of the morning. While Butler has slightly modified the actor’s routine, he’s still aiming for the same goal.

“[Butler] trains three times a day, which isn’t all that unusual for a pro athlete. But he starts his mornings at 4:00, a strategy he gleaned from his close friend Mark Wahlberg, who famously wakes up at 2:30 a.m,” Zito Madu explained in a GQ profile of the Miami Heat man. “I picked up that hustle and that grind from him, waking up early and doing it,” said Butler. “I really cherish his mentorship, brotherhood, and friendship. He teaches me how to continually get better.” 

Jimmy Butler also started drinking wine after lying to Mark Wahlberg

Getting up early isn’t the only thing Jimmy Butler picked up from Mark Wahlberg. He also started drinking wine after lying to the actor.

“Jimmy Butler also clearly loves wine,” Madu explained. “He prefers red, and I assumed that it was Dwyane Wade, another famous wine drinker, who introduced him to it, but he said that it was actually Wahlberg who handed him his first glass. ‘It was on September 13 of 2013,” Butler recalled. “I know this date because it was the day before my birthday, and I was in Chicago.’ Wahlberg was there, filming a Transformers sequel, and had invited Butler to the set. At that point, said Butler, ‘I ain’t never had wine before.”

Like many college kids, Butler drank hard liquor during his time on campus. When you’re hanging out with a movie star, though, different rules apply.

“[Mark] was like, ‘Hey, do you drink wine?’ ” Butler continued. “I’m like, ‘Hell no. I don’t drink wine.’ So I’m looking around, and all eyes are on me, and then an individual I was with from the Bulls nudged me. The nudge to me meant, like, ‘Yo, of course you drink wine. Mark Wahlberg’s offering you wine!” Butler tried to play it cool. “ ‘Yeah, I drink. I drink wine here and there,’ ” he said. Wahlberg poured him a glass of 2010 Sassicaia, and Butler thought, ‘You know what? This isn’t that bad.”

Jimmy Butler’s first experience with wine, as explained by GQ’s Zito Madu

Under most circumstances, honesty is the best policy. If not for his little white lie, however, Jimmy Butler would have never fallen in love with wine.


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