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“Why I’m retiring to Florida” by Jimmy Butler

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Jimmy Butler finally explains why he decided to retire and move to Florida in the middle of his basketball prime.

Earlier this summer, I decided to retire and move to Florida. The decision wasn’t an easy one, but I’m confident it was the right one. I know not everyone understands my choice, but I hope this piece will bring you all some clarity.

First off, I want to say thank you to the Philadelphia 76ers and their fans. The fans showed up with great passion for all four quarters of every single game, even in the regular season. I didn’t know it was possible to care that often, but it turns out it is, and I was impressed.

The media reported on a wide range stories about me and my relationship with the team during my time in Philly, but these stories lacked context. I’m not usually too open about things, but I’d like to take some time to share my perspective on two of the more talked about interpersonal conflicts this season.

There were all kinds of rumors about me yelling at Brett Brown. Those rumors were true. In the past, I also yelled at Tom Thibodeau and Fred Hoiberg, and then I yelled at Tom Thibodeau some more. In a couple months, I’m going to yell at Erik Spoelstra. This is a very normal player-coach dynamic.

There was also speculation about my relationship with Ben Simmons, so let me clear something up: Ben and I are friends. Yes, we tease each other - I used to tell him “shoot the three” and he would say to me “I told the team I’m not signing an extension if you’re back next season” - that’s what friends do! I’ve never had an issue with any teammate my whole career.

A big reason all my teammates love me is my drive to win. Winning is literally the only thing I care about, so leaving a championship contender in Philly was tough. But the lifestyle that comes with being rich, famous, and retired in South Beach was just too good to pass up.

I couldn’t be more excited to begin my four-year retirement tour with the Miami Heat. Just look at how they treated Dwyane Wade last season! Although it was close, the Heat had more Wade nights than the Sixers did Iverson nights, and that ended up playing a big part in my decision. I fully expect a Wade level send off from these Miami fans, and I think Adam Silver might even give me an honorary spot in the next few All-Star games.

Since moving to Florida, I’ve gotten a chance to meet some of my new teammates, and they’re a really interesting group. Goran Dragic speaks four languages. James Johnson has a black belt in karate. And Kelly Olynyk is the “Florida Man” in most of the “Florida Man” stories. I think we have a great locker room. And who knows? Maybe we’ll mess around and win 40 games this season. Crazier things have happened.

I’ve accomplished a lot in my career. I’ve been on the All-NBA Third Team twice and the All-Defensive Second Team four times. I’ve been an All-Star four times, Conference Player of the Week four times, and Conference Player of the Month once. I won the Most Improved Player award. I’ve made the playoffs seven times and I’ve won three playoff series. It was a tough choice to retire in my prime, but ultimately, I’ve already done everything I set out to do in this league.

I think I’ll fit in well with the other retirees in Florida. Like many of them, I came from the Northeast, play dominoes in my free time, and occasionally forget the NBA added a 3 point line. After years of hard work, I’m finally ready to wind things down, and I can’t think of a better place to be.

During my retirement, I plan on doing more of the things I love: living in the same house as my other adult friends, doing interviews with numerous outlets about my tough and straightforward attitude, and teaching Mark Wahlberg’s daughter how to shoot a basketball. I’m thrilled to begin this new chapter of my life.