Jimmy Butler’s public perception is one of a hard-nosed competitor, someone not afraid to challenge teammates. He doesn’t take kindly to divas or slackers. The Miami Heat superstar has also earned a reputation as a bit of a renaissance man and it was on full display in a recent GQ feature story.
Butler, who inked a $141 million deal with Miami, unapologetically defended his image to Zito Madu in a wide-ranging interview. In it, the five-time All-Star forward is depicted as an “affable superstar” who cares just as much about singing and playing the piano as he does about basketball. He has seemingly gone from a team-wrecking villain to the cowboy-wearing hero of South Beach, cape and all.
“I’m constantly doing stuff to try to let people in on that side of me, because I get it,” Butler told GQ. “If you believe what you see online, I’m an a**hole, I’m a bad teammate, I’m a bad guy, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda. But when you take all of that out because that’s just what I am as a basketball player, who am I?”
— Michelob ULTRA (@MichelobULTRA) July 23, 2020
“Now everybody has a different outlook on who I am as a person and as a teammate and as a player, and I’ve been that same dude since I’ve become somebody in the league,” Butler continued. “You just saw me win a couple of games, so now you want to try to change that narrative? I don’t care about none of that.”
The entire story is worth a read as Butler delves into his thoughts on unconditional love and women’s rights, marketing his brand, drinking exquisite wines with Mark Wahlberg, selling gourmet coffee in the NBA bubble, and just how much he loves the Heat organization. The latter is significant considering the criticism he faced after leaving three other NBA franchises (Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers) on bad terms.
“I think everybody in our organization, you won’t be on the Miami Heat if your number one priority isn’t to win,” Butler said. “It’s not for everybody, but we’re for one another and that’s why that s*** works.”
For the February issue of GQ, the breakout star of the bubble @JimmyButler opens up about finding a home with the Miami Heat, going from the NBA’s villain to hero and his daughter https://t.co/oBQJUqFEIR pic.twitter.com/n7ysiHjDWe
— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) January 14, 2021
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Butler Turned Down More Money to Leave Philly
The “Jimmy Butler is a villain” crowd may quickly forget that the superstar forward left money on the table in Philly. The 31-year-old reportedly rejected a $190 million max contract offer from the 76ers because he had grown tired of the organization’s lackadaisical attitude. After he left, there were reports of Butler being frustrated with head coach Brett Brown’s ability to lead the 76ers. Brown has since been fired and Butler has vented about it.
— #RingerNBA (@ringernba) March 11, 2020
Butler nearly led the 76ers to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2019, if not for a miraculous buzzer-beating shot by Kawhi Leonard that ended the game in regulation. There’s no guarantee that Philly would have won in overtime, but Butler made up his mind about his future in the locker room that night.
“I’m in awe a little bit and then after everything settles down,” Butler said, via The Ringer. “The first thing that comes to my mind is ‘Will I be back here? Will I have an opportunity to do this again with these guys?’ and to tell you the truth, I had a feeling it would be a ‘No’.
All-Star Forward Out Versus 76ers Tonight
Unfortunately, Butler will miss tonight’s game versus his old team as the Heat continue to deal with the fallout from the NBA’s health and safety protocols. They will be missing eight players for the second straight game and forced to trot a lineup featuring three guards: Tyler Herro, Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson, with big men Precious Achiuwa and Kelly Olynyk rounding out the starting five.
Miami played with a lot of heart in the first game of the series in Philly despite losing 137-134 in overtime. The Heat saw all five starters hit double figures — Robinson (26), Herro (34), Vincent (24), Achiuwa (17), Olynyk (15) — with Max Strus, Andre Iguodala and Chris Silva supplying valuable minutes off the bench.
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