Athletes and entertainers commingling is hardly a new phenomenon. We often see stars from different walks of fame celebrating together and sharing photo-ops. But for Jimmy Butler and Mark Wahlberg, their friendship goes deeper.
“It’s beyond money. It’s beyond how good we are at our crafts. It’s because we’re really good people,” Butler tells Sole Collector. “He’s been the biggest help for me off the court, just reminding me to keep being who I am and to never stop working, and to keep family first along with God. And I think that is the relationship we have.”
It’s an unlikely relationship that began while Wahlberg was on location shooting a movie. Butler explained that they met playing basketball in Chicago when Wahlberg was there for Transformers. “Ever since then he’s just been my guy,” Butler says. “He’s such a good dude. He loves his people. He loves his family. And if you’re his people, you are his family.”
The two share another bond in their admiration for Jordan Brand. At the time of their meeting, Butler was still a part of the Adidas family, but he knew a change was imminent. “I already knew where I wanted to be at anyway. Jordan Brand is where I wanted to be, I’m here, and I’m here to stay.”
When it comes to Air Jordan collections though, Butler readily admits defeat, saying, “I think he’s got me beat by a long shot. He’s Mark Wahlberg, I’m just a small fish in a big pond.” Like a true friend, he holds no hard feelings, and Butler is anticipating the recently announced Wahlberg x Jordan Brand collaboration with high hopes.
“He’s a mogul out here. Everybody wants to be like Mark in their respective crafts. I know I want to be the best in this basketball thing like he is at acting. And if you work as hard as he does—and that’s half of where I get it from—you’ll have your own achievements.”