Jimmy Butler likes football.
How do we know this?
We called him and asked him.
(Just kidding. His phone was busy.)
It’s because Butler carries a football (not the one in this picture above) with him pretty much everywhere. Airplanes? Check. Baggage claim? Check. Introductory press conference at the Mall of America? Check. The shower? We cannot confirm, but probably check.
When at the Mall of America, Butler wasn’t interested in the rides or the shopping. He was interested in throwing touchdowns to his crew.
The thing is, if you had the football that Butler had, you’d probably bring it everywhere you could, too.
Butler received the ball from Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown.
The two have a few things in common.
The obvious: They both play sports. They both have last names that start with the letter ‘B.’ They are both more athletic than we’ll ever be.
The not-so-obvious: The two have surpassed expectations throughout their young careers. Butler was the 30th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Late first-round picks rarely work out in the NBA. To say Butler has worked out is like saying Peyton Manning was above-average at throwing the football. Butler has been an absolute stud, making three All-Star games, becoming one of the best two-way players in the league.
Brown, on the other hand, was a sixth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft which isn’t exactly a hot spot for Pro Bowlers. For example, other sixth-round picks that season were Brent Bowden, Rusty Smith, Scooter Touchdowns and Scotty McGee.
(One of those names might be made up.)
The two train in their offseasons together as well.
“Jimmy loves football,” Brown said, via ESPN. “He’s always running routes with me. He always wants to cover me. He’s in great shape. Can run all day. Extremely fast. The guy’s a competitor. That’s what makes him great.”
After arriving in Minnesota, one of the first things Butler did was visit U.S. Bank Stadium, the home of the Vikings. Butler received a tour from Vikings Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen.
Butler won’t be scoring any touchdowns anytime soon besides perhaps Madden. But next time you see Butler with his football, whether that be in the locker room, at shootaround or during a postgame press conference, you know why.