There’s only one Jimmy Butler. He plays with his own style on the court, he dresses how he wants to off the court, and he most certainly doesn’t care what you think about him. He knows who he is and he’s emphatically comfortable in his own skin.

In a dimly lit auxiliary locker room underneath the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, Butler walks in wearing a pair of Sacai x Nike Blazers and a striking Valentino sweatsuit. He sees his new Miami Vice No. 22 jersey set up in a locker alongside a few of his Air Jordan XXXI PEs, as well as a couple unworn Jordan 1s. Without a second thought, Butler sits in the seat to the right of the locker setup and throws his feet up on the other chair. 

“I’ll sit wherever I want.” he deadpans to a request to move a foot over for the sake of photographs. After a nervous couple of moments around the room, he looks up and jests, “I’m just fucking with you. I’ll move.”  

That’s Jimmy Butler in a nutshell. He knows the reputation he has, but that doesn’t bother him. He's going to continue to be comfortable in his own skin, even if it makes everyone else in the room uncomfortable. He’s going to keep making jokes, he’s going to continue not to care what you think, and he’s going to keep winning basketball games.  

Butler is a four-time All-Star. He’s been on an All-NBA teams six times, and he has been to the playoffs seven out of his nine seasons in the league. Even with that being the case, Butler has been questioned and second-guessed along the way. He has an alpha personality that has led to some uneven relationships with former teammates, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota, but he has finally found a comfortable new home in Miami.

“The Heat wanted me to be me,” Butler said. “They came in with a mentality like, “Just be yourself and work the way that you work.” 

With most NBA players today, sneaker free agency is nearly as compelling of a conversation as basketball free agency. Upon entering the league, Butler signed an endorsement deal with Adidas, where he rotated through myriad sneakers like the Crazy 8 and the Kobe 2. But before the start of the 2014-15 NBA season, Butler opted not to re-sign with the Three Stripes and instead join the Jordan Brand family for what was reportedly 75 percent less than what Adidas had offered him.

Butler’s time with the Jumpman has been successful. He has his own signature logo and has been fortunate enough to have a number of his own PEs, two of which have actually released to the public. 

“Just to know that my fans in the world could have a sneaker that was personal to me was really cool,” Butler says. 

As Butler looks to continue leading the upstart Miami Heat to the top of the Eastern Conference, we sat down with the perennial All-Star to talk his relationship with Michael Jordan, how he deals with his haters, Mark Wahlberg, and more. 

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