Butler showed up to media day with a new hairstyle, an emo look, that got a ton of attention on social media.
“98.9 percent of the Miami Heat organization was totally uncomfortable with what Jimmy Butler was doing yesterday,” Wallace said in an interview with Grind City Media. “Like, this is so anti-Miami Heat culture, what we stand for.”
Wallace, who covered the Heat for the Miami Herald and ESPN from the mid-2000s and in the LeBron James era, compared Butler’s antics to a situation when James first joined the team.
“I’ve been around that organization and I remember how much of a back-and-forth, all-out war that went on, relatively speaking, behind the scenes because LeBron James wanted to wear a headband,” Wallace said. “He’s wore a headband all of his career, and Pat Riley didn’t allow players to wear headbands up until LeBron James came. It was just this big issue over that. I remember some other things, body fat percentage. Guys couldn’t even show up for media day and the first training camp practice if they didn’t hit that point whatever on their body fat percentage.”
Butler is entering his fifth season with the Heat, and he’s brought a ton of success to the franchise even though Miami hasn’t won a title with him on the roster.
The Heat have made the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last four seasons, advancing to the NBA Finals twice in that stretch.
While that may have bought Butler a little wiggle room within the team’s rules and culture, Wallace doesn’t believe that the superstar’s joke was perceived as well.
This isn’t the first time that Butler has altered his look for Miami’s media day.
Last season, Butler showed up with long dreads and a shaved face for the team’s media day. He did not keep the hairstyle into the 2022-23 season.
Which Jimmy Butler look is better?
— Hoops Nation (@_HoopsNation) October 2, 2023
Wallace clearly believes that what Butler did is not what the Heat organization stands for, but there hasn’t been any public punishment announced for his decision to change his look for media day.
Butler is coming off a terrific season where he averaged 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 53.9 percent from the field and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc.
He helped take Miami from the No. 8 seed in the East all the way to the NBA Finals before the team lost to the Denver Nuggets.
It’s going to be hard to argue with Butler’s hairstyle changes as long as he continues to help the Heat win games and go on deep playoff runs.