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Jimmy Butler on JJ Redick’s podcast

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“And just in case a team does try to force me left, I got something for you, I’ve been working.”

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

On the most recent episode of the JJ Redick Podcast, Redick sat down with Jimmy Butler to talk about everything under the sun. The following are some of the best quotes from the nearly hour long session.

On what makes Butler’s Toyota [minivan] so appealing...

The minivan is real nonchalant, you can’t really tell that I’m in it. It has the “baby on board” sticker in the back. It’s spacious, I watch a lot of film in there on the way to the games. [...] I like it because it’s different, man. I got a couple nice cars, but that minivan just gets it done all the way around.

Redick and Butler on Jimmy’s craft...

Redick: I’ve watched you now for almost a month, and you are as diligent about your game and about your body as anyone that I’ve been around in my career. So that’s not something that you just kind of whimsically decide to do on a day-to-day basis. You’re absolutely diligent when it comes to your craft.

Butler: I love my craft. I was lucky enough at a young age in this league to have vets like Luol [Deng] and Rip [Hamilton] and [Joakim Noah] and Derrick [Rose], all those guys, to tell me how important it is at a young age to take care of my body and then I just fell in love with the work part of it. To see where it’s gotten me to this day, man, it’s incredible because it wasn’t supposed to happen for me. It wasn’t in my cards, but I threw those cards away and I just kept shuffling until I got a hand that I liked. That’s how I put it. And I just enjoy it, I really, really do. I love coming in early and staying late and then my body is hurting, so I get the ice, I get the massage, I get treatment, I get all of that stuff. It’s my job but I really, really love to do it.

On Butler’s favorite memory as a Sixer so far...

To tell you the truth, it wouldn’t be a moment on the floor. I like the part of the games where you get to ring the bell afterwards — that’s special because it’s different. You’re acknowledging the work that particular player did to make sure that we won the game. Whether it be a game-winning shot, whether it be will, playing outstanding defense, or you making any and every tough shot that you take. It’s Ben getting everybody involved, or Jo with a big block. Whatever it may be. I love that. It’s like, “Without you playing the way that you played tonight, we couldn’t have won the game.” That ringing the bell thing? I’m here for that.

On whether Butler was surprised that he was able to use the same exact move to hit the Brooklyn Nets game-winner as he did to hit the Charlotte Hornets game-winner...

I’m never surprised. Never, never. The game is all about picking your spots, man. JJ, when I tell you that before that game, I worked on that? Before Charlotte, and before the Brooklyn game. Nights before, day of. I do that, I go to the gym and I practice like, hey you never know. And just in case a team does try to force me left, I got something for you, I’ve been working. I don’t think there’s a way to guard me if I can get to the spot that I want to get to on the floor. That’s what the game is for me. If I get here and I rise up and shoot this shot, fading away, I know how to shoot it. I’ve done it a million times, I’m going to make it.

On Butler’s early impressions of playing in Philadelphia...

I haven’t been around the city of Philly much, so I can’t speak on it. But the fans? Incredible. And I always thought that even as an away team — the gym’s really, really cold, I will tell you that — but the fans in there, they have it rocking. When you talk about the coaches, the management, the things that we do that aren’t exactly basketball — it’s great. The powerpoint deal — I like that. I like that because you get to learn about your teammates. You get to learn about what your teammates are interested in, and you get to see them get up there and speak about whatever they did their research on. that’s so cool to me, and then you go down there and it’s time to get to work a bit. Coach is so good about bringing it up again and just checking in on you, making sure the human, the person part of you is great. Man it’s fun to be here, it’s fun to come in here, get your work done, joke around when need be. But then man, be serious and lock in. Of course, winning charms everything. And we got great guys, really talented guys that do a lot of things well. This offense is so fit for everybody to be successful. then on the defensive end, we just got some monsters. Long arms, athletic. It’s fun to get up and down like that, it really is — it’s fun.

On guarding Blake Griffin...

Locked that up. Blake can’t score on me. I don’t care what you say, you heard that Blake. Ain’t worried about you.

After this quote, Redick told Butler that by the time the episode was released, the Pistons would be in town. Butler instructed Redick to release the episode before the game so that Blake could hear it.

On Butler’s infamous practice...

Redick: You come in, you play with the third string. You give the first string buckets, talk a bunch of shit, and then immediately after, you do a sit down interview with Rachel Nichols. I’m thinking to myself, “That’s all premeditated, that’s all planned. He goes out there, he causes a seen in practice. And then he’s got some PR move five minutes later.”

Butler: Look I did go to THE Marquette university, so I know you think I’m really that smart, but that’s not what happened. What happened was this interview was planned like three weeks ahead of time to talk about what was going on. So I would keep going into the office talking with management, talking with Thibs. They would be like, “Hey you need to come in and practice.” And I was like, “Thibs, what do I need to practice for? Ya’ll finna trade me. What’s the point of practicing? I’m going in there, getting up and down, and then I’m going to be gone in a day.”

Redick: Let me ask you a question real quick about this practice. Did they want you to practice with the first team?

Butler: That was where... I was getting to that. So when we’re sitting in there, I’m not going to drop any names about who said what. But there was people in this meeting. We’re going back and forth, it’s not really heated, we’re literally just talking. And then somebody says, “You’re going to practice.” Now first of all, I have a for real problem when somebody’s telling me what to do, as a grown man, I have a problem with it. So now, you done lit the match. But ain’t nothing on fire yet, you just lit the match. I was like, “First of all, you’re not going to tell me what to do. If I choose to practice, I choose to practice.” And I know that we’re in Philly and the whole practice with AI thing is relevant — but we’re not going to get there. And I’m like, “No, I don’t know just yet.” And then he would say, “No, you’re going to practice.” So now you’re getting that fire a little bit too close to me. So I’m like, “Let me tell you something. If I’m at practice, I’ll come off the bench. I’ll play with the second group if i want to. As long as I’m out there in practice, boom.” This person goes, “No, you’re going to play with the starters.” Welp, there you go, you done got me now. “No I won’t, I’ll play with third stringers, now what?” And so now, you know, I’m telling him, “I don’t think it’s a good idea to do it. Because I know whenever I go in there, I’m trying to basically just prove a point.” But...

Redick: But, you were on one.

Butler: I was on one.

More from Butler on his infamous practice...

I’m yapping, I’m yapping, I’m yapping. I always talk anyways, if you can’t tell, I’m always talking, talking about how somebody can’t guard me, or nobody can beat me. When I do that, that’s what I do. This time it was just a little bit different because of whose team I was on, and I ain’t been around. So it was just like taken up a notch. And it didn’t help who was watching — ownership, management, all of that good stuff. But the thing that people overlook is the fact that nobody would know what went on in practice if somebody didn’t go say word for word what I said. Like who does that? That’s like us practicing right now and then as soon as we get done practice, you walk over and are like, “Man Jimmy told coach a joke today, and it started with knock knock.” It’s just like, why would you go tell word for word what was said and what happened? When have you seen that? [...] Why would say he beat you with the third stringers?

On Butler’s reputation...

Redick: Based upon your last six weeks in Minnesota, maybe part of your last season in Chicago, do you feel like there is a reputation that is attached to you now because of that?

Butler: I hope so.

Redick: You do? And what would that reputation be?

Butler: “He just wants to win at all cost.” I don’t give a damn — can you say the “F” word? I don’t give a fuck what anybody thinks about me, all I want to do is win. That’s it. And I feel like if you’re not doing everything in your power to help the team win, I’m going to have a problem with whoever it may be. It doesn’t matter, I’m going to have a problem and I’m going to voice it over and over and over again. To you, to coach, to management, whoever it may be. I’m not scared of confrontation, I like confrontation, I thrive in confrontation because I’m the type that when you challenge me, I’m going to show that I can do it. Not everybody is like that, not everybody is cut like that. Especially this new age NBA, which, it’s okay, but I’m not going to change who I am just because you don’t like it. Where would that put me? I got here because of who I am.

Butler also talked about the Timberwolves trade request situation, his transformation as a player and betting on himself. You can listen to the entire podcast here. It was very entertaining. Jimmy Butler is a very compelling person, an intense worker and a genuinely funny guy.