Jimmy Butler has forged his own path throughout his NBA career, so it’s hardly surprising that the Miami Heat star pays little mind to how he’s perceived by others.
Speaking to Marc Stein of The New York Times this week, Butler could not have been more blunt about how outside opinions have no impact him whatsoever.
“Believe me when I tell you that I do not care what people say about me,” Butler told Stein. “I truly don’t care.”
Butler has long been among the biggest stars in the NBA, but his remarkable performance in the Walt Disney World bubble was a transcendent run that has redefined his career. He led the Heat to the NBA Finals, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in a six-game series.
Beginning the playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s No. 5 seed, Butler carried the Heat on numerous occasions while contributing 22.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals in 21 games.
Finally reaching the pinnacle by playing on the NBA’s biggest stage was not been without some bumps in the road for Butler. Stints with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers before Butler arrived in Miami this past offseason all featured moments that led to star being unflatteringly portrayed as a problematic presence in the locker room.
That all changed when Butler joined the Heat, as a narrative quickly emerged that suggested the mercurial player had finally found a home. The Heat’s belief that Butler could elevate the organization obviously paid huge dividends as the season and postseason progressed.
Butler has long railed against the notion that he’s not a team player. In fact, he insists he’s the exact opposite. Through it all, Butler has continued to believe in himself. With the Heat poised to be a factor in the East for the foreseeable future, Butler is more than content with where he finds himself at this stage of his career.
“I’m so comfortable with being myself—more than I’ve ever been,” Butler said. “Not saying I’ve ever not wanted to be myself, but now I know ‘myself’ is the right way.”