Recently, a revealing portrait of Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler was published in a place you might have least suspected.
Ever heard of Haute Living magazine?
The lifestyle publication, whose corporate headquarters are in Miami, isn’t the first place NBA fans turn to when it comes to consuming news about their favorite players and teams. But Haute Living’s October cover story of Butler raises the bar.
The magazine interviewed the accomplished pro in London, where he spent a good chunk of his offseason.
He spells it out quite simply that he’s a hyper-competitive veteran player.
“I hate to f****ing lose with a passion — at anything,” Butler said in the first soul-baring comments of the article. “I can never say that anybody is better than me at anything. It doesn’t register in my mind.”
And then, he said: “Winning is everything.”
After eight seasons in the NBA, with previous stints with the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers, Butler has a track record of being a stellar scorer. He’s a career 16.7 points-per-game scorer, including four straight seasons of 20 or more points per game with the Chicago Bulls (2014-15 to 2017-18).
Despite his many personal accolades since being chosen as the No. 30 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the four-time All-Star refuses to embrace losing as an acceptable outcome.
Focus on improving
“Look, I don’t have a problem with relationships, but winning is damn near everything to me,” Butler confessed to the magazine. “If I lose, I have a problem, and you have to realize that I have a problem whenever I lose, so you have to learn to leave me alone. I don’t want to be talked to; I don’t want to eat; I want to figure out why we lost and how we can fix it. I know it sounds stupid, but to me, winning is more important than breathing.”
He elaborated: “I have always been a fierce competitor, but I haven’t always been like this,” he assures us. “Losing [hasn’t] always bothered me as much as it does now. I realized that I worked so hard to be one of the best at something, and when you put all of that time in, it hurts to f****ing lose. You did all that for no f****ing reason—that’s the part that gets me. If I wanted to lose, I just wouldn’t do [anything]. I’d sit around and just go on vacation 24 hours a day.”
Some people insist that pro sports feature adults playing children’s games for a living. Jimmy Butler views his career a different way. It’s serious business. Winning is the target, nothing else.
“Because I don’t like to lose, that’s what I do in my spare time — I study everything: my new teammates, how I can be better, how I can help my new teammates be better, what they’re good at, what they’re not so good at,” Butler told Haute Living. “I’m talking to all of the coaches about the plays that we’re running so I can get ahead of the game. This is new to me, as we all know.”
This summer, Butler received a four-year, $142 million contract from the Heat. To acquire Butler, the Heat were involved in a four-team trade (known in NBA parlance as a sign and trade) that involved the 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers.
‘A family affair’
The magazine reported that Butler departed Philly with positive impressions of the organization.
He put it this way: “Yeah, it was hard. Me and the players were cool, and the people they have in their organization are top-notch — some really good people that I still talk to. Good people in today’s world are so hard to come by. You don’t find them that often, but there are a lot of them in Philly. It was a family affair over there, for real.”
Butler has set his sights on becoming an entrepreneur in the future. His passion for wine is a catalyst.
“I’m opening my own winery, for sure,” Butler was quoted as saying. “I was thinking about doing it in Bordeaux until they told me the prices of the land and I was like, ‘OK — count me out of Bordeaux!’ I’ve either got some chips to stack or I’ve got to figure out something else.”