Jimmy Butler: “I don’t call them role players. I call them teammates”


The Heat’s remarkable journey in this year’s playoffs has showcased the strength of their team culture and the unwavering commitment of their role players. After eliminating the top-seeded Bucks and the second-seeded Celtics, Miami secured their spot in the NBA Finals. Jimmy Butler, the heart and soul of the team, commended the team’s collective effort and the ability of the role players to step up when needed.

Reflecting on the Heat’s culture, Butler emphasized the selflessness and adaptability of his teammates. He acknowledged that when a player goes down, the next man steps up and seamlessly fills the void, performing at a high level. What sets these players apart, according to Butler, is their humility in accepting their roles and willingly taking a step back when the injured player returns. The absence of complaints and the commitment to doing whatever is asked of them is what makes them true teammates in Butler’s eyes.

“I just think the guys that coach [Erik] Spo[elstra] and coach Pat [Riley] put together, when a guy goes down, the next guy could fill in that gap and exactly what that that went down did and do it at a high level,” the 33-year-old small forward said. “And then be humble enough to know what when that guy comes back, you got to take a step back and get back in your role. And nobody ever complains. They always do exactly what you ask of them to do which is why you want to play with guys like that which is why they’re the reason that we win so many games.”

In his post-game interview, Butler made it clear that he does not view these players as mere role players but as valuable teammates. He highlighted the ever-changing nature of roles, especially considering his own fluctuating availability throughout the season. The Heat’s roster is filled with skilled basketball players who excel in scoring, defending, passing, and ultimately winning games for the team.

The Heat’s success is a testament to the exceptional team-building prowess of head coach Erik Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley. The Miami organization has long been known for its strong team culture, and this year’s playoffs have once again demonstrated the effectiveness of their approach. The Heat’s ability to overcome adversities, such as being the eighth seed and facing higher-seeded opponents, speaks volumes about the resilience and determination of the entire team.

“I don’t call them role players. I call them teammates because your role can change any given day, especially with how many games I’ve missed and in and out of lineup, off nights, whatever you call it,” Butler said. “But we got some hoopers, we got some real deal basketball players that can score, can defend, can pass and can win games for us.”

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