With the retirement of Dwyane Wade, four-time NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler will look to fill the Miami Heat’s superstar void this upcoming season.
One of Wade’s former teammates had something to say about Butler and his presence on and off the court. At first glance it may sound like criticism, but in reality it’s far from that.
“It’s always a give and take,” said Chris Bosh. “They have to learn him. He has to learn them. But tension is good. Healthy tension is good. And I think Jimmy brings that.
“That’s one of the points I always like to make when I say ‘tension,’ because people take that as a bad thing. People might take that as a bad thing, but sometimes locker-room tension is good, and a healthy dose of it, of team tension, is good, because you have to perform.”
Bosh would know a thing about tension. When he joined Wade and LeBron James to form the Heat’s Big 3 superteam in 2010, the team got off to a rocky start in its first season. It went on to have to deal with a five-game losing streak late in the year, and ultimately lost in the NBA Finals.
But the tension that existed in South Florida as a result of those failures spurred the team to back-to-back NBA championships in 2012 and 2013.
As for Butler, he has been perceived by many as a toxic presence in NBA locker rooms. First with the Chicago Bulls, then with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and even most recently with the Philadelphia 76ers, Butler brought levels of conflict that made national news. But others may see that type of personality as a positive when combined with the right mix of teammates and overall talent.
In fact, some of the game’s greatest players ever, such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and even Magic Johnson, brought a palpable sense of tension to their teams. However, they made sure it was productive. They used it to motivate their teammates and prevent them from getting too comfortable.
Butler will need to do just that to help the Heat gain a playoff berth this upcoming season.