The 2023 NBA All-Star Game was an exciting and star-studded affair, but the agent of Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler saw something that he really did not like take place well before the game.
Actor Simu Liu was a participant in the 2023 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, which took place earlier in the week, and he became the victim of a pretty insensitive act by the crew running the big screen at the game.
What started as a pretty harmless game of celebrity look-alike turned into something Liu himself didn’t like.
I had a great time but this wasn't cool https://t.co/8ZXUUvBk7W
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) February 18, 2023
Bernard Lee took to social media on Monday morning to make his stance on the snafu clear.
When it comes to whether or not the move was in fact racist is perhaps up for debate, but the reputation that the Jazz and its fans have across the league certainly does not work in the favor of the franchise.
“It’s a little comforting for me, 100%,” he told Andscape about playing in a predominately Black city. “I’m not going to lie about that. It’s no secret there’s a lot of stuff that I dealt with being in Utah off the floor. If I’m being honest with you, I never really said this, but it was draining. It was just draining on my energy just because you can’t sit in your room and cheer for me and then do all these different things. I’m not saying specifically every fan, but I just feel like it was a lot of things. A [Utah] state senator [Stuart Adams] saying I need to get educated on my own Black history. Seeing Black kids getting bullied because of their skin color. Seeing a little girl [Isabella Tichenor] hang herself because she’s being bullied.”
Mitchell is far from the only NBA star to talk about the racism in Utah.
As for Butler himself, he was actually not a participant in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game. It was the second time in the last four years that he hasn’t been voted into the game. He was an All-Star last season, however, and his stats this season are practically identical.
He’s putting up 21.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game during the 2022-23 campaign.
Luckily for Butler, his goals never have anything to do with personal accolades. He’s always focused exclusively on team goals and success, with the ultimate goal obviously being to win a championship with the Heat.
That goal is still achievable this season, and Miami currently is currently just a half-game back from the New York Knicks for the No. 6 seed in the East.
The Heat will resume regular season play on Friday against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.