When we think of the best leaders in basketball, people like LeBron James and Stephen Curry come to mind first. Franchise superstars who have won multiple championships with their teams and have cemented themselves as the face of the NBA. The best leaders work the hardest and hold themselves and their teammates accountable. By this definition, one player who has proved himself to be a great leader, is Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat.
Jimmy Butler’s work ethic is a well-documented topic within the NBA. After all, going from the 30th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft to a top 5 shooting guard requires a lot of hard work. But hard work is an understatement for what Jimmy Butler does. The man is an absolute psychopath, and we can see this when he showed up to the Heat’s 10:00 am practice at 3:30 am. This type of commitment to improving yourself is part of a leader’s job. While Butler improves himself, his work ethic is also inspiring his teammates, leading to our second point.
Butler is Inspiring His Teammates
The Heat have a core of young players with tons of potential. Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn are very talented players that will play a role in the Heat’s future. Since the arrival of Jimmy Butler, these young players have witnessed a player who demands excellence from everyone around him. This mindset has forced them to work as hard as possible to meet the standard. We’ve seen the results, Herro and Nunn had solid rookie seasons, Robinson has emerged as one of the best shooters in the NBA, and Adebayo was a first-time All-Star. It’s only the beginning for them, and Jimmy Butler played a large role in their success.
Before the playoffs had started, I had said that Miami was going to be a dangerous playoff team. They were a part of the four teams in the East that were considered a threat for a reason. Throughout their first six games, the Heat are 6-0, including a current 2-0 advantage over the favorites of the East, the Milwaukee Bucks. Miami has been an underdog all playoffs long, yet that hasn’t stopped them from standing up to whoever they play. They have that dog mentality and play with a chip on their shoulder.
Playing with a chip on the shoulder is rare coming from a team that has championship experience, but I believe Jimmy Butler changed the culture. As a leader, you represent your team’s identity, and Butler has always been one to face opposition with no fear. This dog mentality is infectious, and now his whole team is confident enough to face the world.
We All Owe Jimmy Butler an Apology
Since he departed from the Bulls, Jimmy Butler has been the subject of criticism non-stop. We’ve seen him get into it with teammates in Minnesota, and the community branded him a diva who couldn’t win. Yet in Miami, Butler has thrived; he is leading a possible title contender and has made everyone around him better. After this season, I think we can all agree that Jimmy Butler is one of, if not, the best leader the NBA has.
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