An NBA All-Star came to town on Saturday.
And after Jimmy Butler was given a key to the city of Tyler, an honorary degree from Tyler Junior College, had the lobby at Wagstaff Gymnasium named after him, had his jersey retired and was inducted into the Circle of Honor, he helped provide some money to local school districts as part of the “Jimmy Butler TJC Promise Shootout.”
Butler, who was a first-round pick by the Chicago Bulls in 2011 and now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, opened the day with a press conference in the new “Jimmy Butler Lobby.”
Tyler Junior College Chancellor Mike Metke and Tyler city councilman John Nix both spoke at the event.
Nix declared Sept. 8, 2018, as “Jimmy Butler Day” and presented Butler with a key to the city.
“I’m grateful that everybody is here,” Butler said. “TJC is where it all started for me.”
Later in the afternoon, TJC had an alumni basketball game. Before the game, Butler was awarded a gold jacket for his induction into the Circle of Honor.
Playing in the game were Randal Hampton, Tyler Jefferson, Craig Jones, Justin Johnson, Ifeanyi Koggu, Mitch Marquis, Reggie Nelson, Kevis Shipman, Delbert Simpson, Cedric Smith, Theo White and Marcus Jackson.
Butler was unable to play because of a hand injury, but he did participate in the shootout at halftime.
The Black team defeated the Gold Team, 67-65, in the alumni game behind 25 points from White, including the two game-winning free throws with 18 seconds remaining. Nelson, a former John Tyler standout, led the Gold team with 20 points.
In the “Jimmy Butler TJC Promise Shootout” at halftime, Tyler Lee’s Devin Johnson made four free throws and four 3-pointers to record the highest total. Johnson, along with John Tyler’s Darry Moore, earned $22,000 for Tyler ISD.
“It was very cool meeting Jimmy Butler,” Johnson said. “I practice on my shot every day, and it was an amazing experience to be out there shooting with Jimmy.”
Other participants in the shootout were Chapel Hill’s Chason Wright, Grand Saline’s Luke Fraim, Lindale’s Teigan Edwards, Van’s Austin Mitchell and Winona’s Dakota Pullum.