The Miami Heat are the defending Eastern Conference champions, yet the franchise won’t have any representation next month at the NBA All-Star game. Zero players. It could be argued that both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo were snubbed.
Butler less so than Adebayo considering his 12-game absence to start the year. Adebayo? Well, the dominating big man probably has a legitimate gripe — and his favorite teammate was quick to rush to his defense.
“I wish Bam would have made it,” Butler said. “As for me, I’m cool. No disappointment for me. Zero.”
Adebayo created waves earlier this week when he blamed “politics” and a “sliding scale” as reasons for why he might not make the All-Star squad. After finding out that he didn’t make it, the 6-foot-9 center took it in stride. He’s more worried about “stacking up dubs” right now than individual accolades.
“We’re going to do a job, you know, the bottom line. That’s kind of how we look at it,” Adebayo said. “At the end of the day, keep pushing forward, one foot in front of the other, just like Kobe Bean [Bryant] say, one foot in front of the other and live life with a smile and just enjoy it. It was great to get this win. All-Star is behind us, and just keep worrying about getting these dubs.”
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Not Ruling Out Competing in Skills Challenge
Adebayo didn’t rule out flying to Atlanta to participate in the All-Star skills challenge after taking home the trophy as an underdog last year. The eight-player contest features an obstacle course that tests shooting, passing and ballhandling. He credited Dwyane Wade after winning it.
Participants don’t have to be actual All-Stars to compete in the skills challenge which takes place the night before the All-Star game on March 6. Adebayo said it’s “up in the air” on whether he’ll go to defend his title. He was more interested in talking about the NBA’s decision to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The league intends to donate more than $2.5 million in funds and resources toward HBCUs.
“I hope they do it every year. I hope this isn’t just a one-year thing, and they just forget about HBCUs,” Adebayo said. “I hope they do it every year, raise money for HBCUs because, at the end of the day, you want to be equal so I appreciate the NBA for figuring that out but I hope they do it every year.”
Andre Iguodala Getting Burn with Butler, Adebayo
Andre Iguodala has been earning a ton of praise from his head coach and Heat teammates in recent days. Throw the box score out the window. The three-time NBA champion provides so much unnoticed leadership and savvy veteran play.
Erik Spoelstra has been playing Iguodala in clutch moments, keeping him on the floor at times with Butler and Adebayo. The results have been extremely effective since the trio’s basketball intelligence is off the charts.
“They have a great feel of how to win,” Spoelstra said, “and that matters in this league, and you can’t put an analytic on that specifically. It’s more than the scheme, it’s really the commitment to do tough things defensively, and those guys are winning players.”
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