LeBron James has ‘tremendous regard’ for Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo

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The Miami Heat duo of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo apparently garners some deep respect from one of the NBA’s greatest players ever, former Heat superstar LeBron James.

James and the Los Angeles Lakers came to Miami on Wednesday night, losing in a 112-98 decision. In that Heat victory, Butler and Adebayo combined for 50 points, with Butler’s 27 points matching James’ game-high scoring output.

The idea that Butler and Adebayo are looked upon as great competitors isn’t a surprise, especially in the case of Butler. Despite battling a string of injuries, Butler played close to 35 minutes and also contributed six steals, five rebounds and four assists.

Adebayo also delivered some notable numbers after missing the Heat’s game on Monday because of an illness. Playing just under 39 minutes against the Lakers, Adebayo notched a double-double by hauling down 14 rebounds and also delivered a pair of blocks.

James is now in his 20th NBA season and has been dealing with Butler since the 2011-12 campaign. Adebayo entered the league after being drafted by the Heat in 2017.

One of the reasons why James likely has such respect for the Heat duo is because, for much of his career, he’s been one of the NBA’s most durable players. Through last night’s contest, James has played in 1,393 regular season games and has also played in 266 postseason contests, the equivalent of more than three additional NBA seasons.

Numbers like that can potentially wear down the competitive instincts of any player. Also, the types of massive contracts that James, Butler and Adebayo are currently playing under can lead some players to ease up or essentially take nights off under the guise of getting rest.

That sort of mindset clearly doesn’t exist among that trio of players, which helps explain the admiration that James apparently feels toward Butler and Adebayo.

It’s highly likely that the feelings from Butler and Adebayo are mutual.

Yet, for now, Butler and Adebayo need to focus on the Heat’s five-game road trip, which gets underway on Friday night against the Denver Nuggets.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for HeatNation.com, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.