There has been a lot of vitriol over the Miami Heat not having any representation at the All-Star Game. No one was voted in or invited as an alternate, right? Maybe not.
Jimmy Butler was initially asked to participate after Kevin Durant was ruled out, but the star forward turned down the offer. Instead, Indiana Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis will take Durant’s slot for the Eastern Conference squad.
“He wasn’t going unless Bam was going,” Ethan J. Skolnick of 5 Reasons Sports Network said. “For those who were sort of questioning why Jimmy wasn’t named to the All-Star team when [Kevin] Durant went out and it was [Domantas] Sabonis, I can tell you that the NBA wanted to name him (Butler) to the All-Star team.”
Butler and Adebayo haven’t been shy about their mutual respect, constantly exchanging compliments and crashing each other’s interviews. It’s bordering on pretty hardcore man-crush status.
“Bam don’t need no more confidence, Bam knows he’s one of the top players in this league,” said Butler said of Adebayo last year. “He’s only going to continue to get better because he works and he cares and he studies the game. I always tell y’all and I mean it, he’s the heart and soul behind us, he’s what makes us go.”
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Adebayo Taking the Load Off Everybody Else
Adebayo has taken a much bigger leadership role this year, one that doesn’t always show up in the box score. His job is to take the pressure off everyone else.
“It’s been a couple of games where I had four rebounds and 10 points but it felt like I was the most impactful player on the court so that’s my job. That’s what I got paid to do,” Adebayo said. “Nothing’s better than being one of those dudes that impacted the game but the stat sheet doesn’t say it,” Adebayo said. “And I feel like if you have guys like that, it makes it easier to score, it makes it easier to defend. My job is to take the load off everybody else, makes it much easier.”
The dominating center is averaging 19.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists per game for the Heat. Adebayo has arguably been their best player, the glue that held everything together when key guys were gone for long stretches due to injury. Since Butler has returned to the lineup, Adebayo’s numbers have soared to new heights. They have been an unstoppable tandem.
Jordan Deal, Signed and Sealed
It’s all coming up roses (or maybe dollar signs?) for Adebayo. He inked a five-year, $195 million max rookie contract last November and now he’s joining the Nike team. On Friday, the Heat center announced he had signed an endorsement deal with the Jordan Brand family.
Adebayo will be working with Nike design teams to come up with future Jordan sneakers while serving as a spokesperson for the brand. Hopefully, one day, he’ll get his own shoe.
“I feel like being part of that brand, it’s only a select couple of people in that Jordan brand or family,” Adebayo said. “So being able to be a part of that — and I’m a family guy — it was the right pick for me … And moving forward, you never know, Jordan might be nice, I might get a shoe, you never know.”