Jimmy Butler sounds like a man looking forward to being lustily booed by Timberwolves fans Saturday night, in his first game back in Minnesota since forcing his way out of town.
Butler has no regrets about his messy exit from Minny, and insists he would “do nothing over.”
The 29-year-old NBA All-Star knows he is “in a good place” with the Philadelphia Sixers, and dares critics to overlook them in the playoffs.
Per The NY Times:
“They’re going to boo me,” Butler said of the Minnesota fans who watched him force his way out of town via a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers in November — months after Butler led the woebegone Timberwolves to their first playoff berth in 14 seasons.
“I would boo me, too. I’m not going to lie to you.”
Those who have spent any time around the rugged swingman surely don’t doubt it. At a time when N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver openly frets about player happiness — and when standouts such as Boston’s Kyrie Irving and Golden State’s Kevin Durant routinely rail against the approach of some of the news media — Butler is the rare star who savors the game’s edgy side and has embraced his portrayal as a villain.
“Oh, I love it,” Butler said in a phone interview, throwing in a profanity for emphasis. “I love it. I love it. Who wants to be loved all the time?
“It’s O.K. It’s fine. I don’t need everybody to like me. I know who I am. I can’t say that enough. I know what I’m about. I know where my heart is. People will say, ‘He’s this way, or he’s that way,’ but nobody knows except for the people around me every day. Ask them and they’ll tell you differently.”