Bulls’ Jimmy Butler talks about how Mark Wahlberg inspires him

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Mark Wahlberg has come a long way, from Marky Mark to the star of “Boogie Nights” to the guy who was nominated for an Oscar in “The Departed.” Not to mention being an executive producer on “Entourage” and “Boardwalk Empire” while co-owning a chain of hamburger joints.

Wahlberg and the Bulls Jimmy Butler met a couple of years back when the actor was in Chicago filming the latest (but unfortunately not last) Transformers movie. They played some pickup, hit it off and are still friends.

It was a relaxed Butler speaking to the media out in Las Vegas at the Team USA mini-camp — signing a five-year, $95 million deal will put you at ease, I guess — and he talked to Sam Smith of Bulls.com about his relationship with Wahlberg (hat tip Ball Don’t Lie and Blog a Bull).

“From where he’s come from, he’s taught me so much,” Butler said. “What he’s been through to where he is now, we are kind of on the same path, just a little bit different. All this adversity where he is now….

“More than anything he doesn’t care I am an NBA player,” said Butler. “He just wants me moving in the right direction. He’s a role model for so many people. But I look up to him for the way he is with his kids, his family. And the way he treats his entourage (the successful HBO series and later movie was loosely based on Wahlberg). Everybody respects the guy because he treats you with respect. That’s how I want to be known. I want to treat you all with respect….

“The dude is an incredible dude,” said Butler. “He is one of the most genuine people you can be around. He works hard, studies the scripts. He just finished up Deep Water Horizon, but he’s probably on two scripts from now because that’s how his mind works. He’s actually the one (that) got (me) waking up at 5 o’clock and working because that’s what he does, wakes up 4:30, 5 and he reads (scripts) and then he goes works out and starts his day.”

I don’t know much about Wahlberg, but if Butler is getting that much out of their relationship, then good for him. Both guys had rough upbringings and made something of themselves. That’s a good foundation for a bond.

And Butler, say hi to your mother for me.