That tidbit was noted during the “Locked On Heat” podcast, with the show’s David Ramil revealing Butler’s blunt remarks about his own abilities following a 28-point performance.
"I'm the best f—ing player in the world. Double teams, triple teams, it don't matter."
— Jimmy Butler after returning for the Heat's Game 3 win over the Knicks.
Exclusive reporting by @dramil13
— Locked On Heat (@LockedOnHeat) May 8, 2023
Such an expression of confidence is nothing new for Butler, and it’s undoubtedly one of the reasons why the Heat chose to acquire him in a sign-and-trade deal in 2019.
The 33-year-old Butler has always played the game with an edge, with his NBA career beginning under the radar in 2011. That year, he was the 30th and final pick of the first round, a slight he no doubt continues to use as motivation against opponents.
Butler’s edge has sometimes rubbed folks the wrong way. That might explain why the Heat are the fourth different team he’s played with in 12 NBA seasons.
However, that type of mindset is something that’s often been connected to Heat players and been beneficial for the franchise.
During Butler’s first season with Miami, he led the team through the COVID-19 bubble in Orlando, Fla. and helped put the Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals. While that unexpected playoff run ended with a series loss in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers, Butler’s play put the league on notice.
After a quick playoff exit the following year, Butler helped get the Heat to Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.
This season, the Heat struggled for a good portion of the regular season before Butler sparked the team once the playoffs got underway. First, Butler helped the Heat emerge from the play-in portion of the schedule and then paced a five-game upset of the Milwaukee Bucks.
In that Bucks series, Butler’s incredible Game 4 performance immediately became iconic when he poured in 56 points to lead a comeback victory. Then, two nights later, he hit a clutch shot to send Game 5 into overtime en route to an eventual Heat victory.
Given the absence of guard Tyler Herro due to injury, Butler has had to perform at a superstar level to give the Heat a chance at continuing their playoff run. His next chance comes Monday night, with the Heat in a position to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series against the Knicks.