Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler compared himself to a Banksy painting. Here’s why he’s spot on.

Jimmy Butler recently offered up a rather unique self-description: a Banksy painting.

“You may not understand me, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to change,” Butler told Haute Living. “A Picasso is going to stay a Picasso. But seriously, I’m not a Picasso — I’m more like a Banksy!”

This was, of course, a reference to his competitive edge. His — let’s say “demanding” — attitude has often alienated teammates and part of the reason he’s on his fourth team in four years.

Taken in a specific context, the comparison fits. Banksy and Butler refuse to conform to the popular conventions associated their respective careers.

Banksy is a faceless, graffiti artist whose raison d’être is a rejection of the commercialization of the art. Banksy is the same artist whose painting self-destructed right after being sold for a reported $1.4 million.

Butler, similarly, is a player who tends to shy away from the glitz and glamour that comes with playing in the NBA. He drives a minivan, used to dress like a Cowboy and has an absurd work ethic, accented by 3:30 a.m. prepractice workouts. Simply put, he just likes hooping and winning.

“Look, I don’t have a problem with relationships, but winning is damn near everything to me,” Butler said. “If I lose, I have a problem, and you have to realize that I have a problem whenever I lose.”

This uniqueness, for better or worse, is what fuels makes Jimmy Butler III. You take him for who he is — a fierce competitor and four-time NBA All-Defensive Team, two-time All-NBA Team player — and don’t expect him to change.

Some fans might hate him, others might love him. Regardless of how they feel, Butler told Haute that he can’t wait to play for Miami.

“That’s my thing: being able to do good things with and for my people,” he said. “ That’s why I’m so excited to be able to do stuff in Miami, in this city — because whether they like it or not, they’re going to be my people.”

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C. Isaiah Smalls II is a reporter covering breaking and trending news for the Miami Herald. Previously, he worked for ESPN’s The Undefeated as part of their inaugural class of Rhoden Fellows. He is a graduate of both Columbia University and Morehouse College.