Heat’s Jimmy Butler Called Finals Shot Weeks Ago, Tennis Star Reveals

Jimmy Butler Heat Celtics ECF

Getty 2023 NBA Eastern Conference Finals MVP Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat is presented with the Larry Bird Trophy.

While the Miami Heat were unable to close out the Boston Celtics in six games — as Jimmy Butler had declared they would following his team’s Game 5 loss — Game 7 was a cinch for the ballers of Biscayne. Led by the six-time All-Star and Caleb Martin, who scored 54 points as a duo in the contest, the Heat stomped the Cs in Beantown, 103-84, on Monday night.

As a result, they have officially punched their ticket to the NBA Finals for the second time since 2020 and the sixth time in the last 13 seasons.

Despite the fact that Miami entered postseason play as the East’s No. 8 seed, Butler was more than confident in his team’s ability to get back to the promised land. He famously predicted that the Heat would advance to 2023’s title round in the immediate aftermath of last year’s ill-fated conference finals bout with the Celtics.

And, more recently, tennis star Coco Gauff revealed that he was promising people Finals tickets before the Heat had even secured their playoff spot.

Coco Gauff Says That Jimmy Butler Offered Her & Her Family Finals Tickets Several Weeks Ago

After a come-from-behind victory over Spain’s Rebeka Masarova in Round 1 of the French Open on Tuesday, the 19-year-old Gauff — a Delray Beach native — said that Butler had invited her to attend some of the Heat’s early playoff games as his guest. When she responded that she was going to be too busy with tennis tournaments, he came back with an incredibly bold second offer.

“I said, ‘I won’t be here. I’ll be in Madrid and then Rome and then France,'” Gauff recalled. “And then he said, ‘OK, when we make the Finals, let me know if your family wants some tickets.’ So, this was before we were even in the playoffs.”

Based on that exchange alone, Gauff became emboldened as a Heat fan amid the team’s unlikely playoff run.

“Everybody is like, ‘We have a 3% chance of making the Finals, but when he sent me that, I knew we were making the Finals, because he didn’t say, ‘if we make the Finals’ — he said, ‘when we make the Finals.’

“I was like, ‘Oh, we’re going. We’re going to the Finals,'” Gauff said. “So that’s my Jimmy Butler story. He pretty much said we were going to the Finals before we even qualified for the playoffs, and I just really like that mentality.”

Gauff Is Looking to Finish the Job at This Year’s French Open After Losing in the Final Last Year

Just as the Heat are trying to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy again after coming up just short of the goal line in recent years, Gauff is trying to improve upon her final-round loss to Polish star and current world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the 2022 French Open.

As she progresses through the competition, though, she’s doing her best to stay focused on what’s ahead of her as opposed to worrying about what happened last year (or even last set).

“At first, I was like, ‘I have to match last year’s result, blah, blah, blah, Or do better.’ [But] that was last year. I’m like, ‘It’s over. What can I do about it?’ … With the first set [during her win on Tuesday], it’s over,” Gauff said. “Like, ‘What can I do about it?’ You have the choice to dwell on it or reset, and I chose to reset.”

Gauff’s singles tournament will continue on Thursday when she squares off against Julia Grabher of Austria in the second round.

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