Heat’s Jimmy Butler on where ‘emo’ look went, new NBA rules and why he’s not an internet ‘troll’

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Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler showed up to media day Monday at Kaseya Center with his “emo” look that included straightened hair, and pierced lips, nose and eyebrow. But Butler returned to his normal look with braided hair and no visible piercings on his face for training camp this week.

“The fire still burns,” Butler said when asked where his emo look went Wednesday during the Heat’s second day of training camp at Florida Atlantic University. “I felt like some braids today. Who knows what I might come in with tomorrow? My hairstylist Flo is phenomenal, so she makes the magic happen. So I think it’s more for everybody, including myself, to never know what’s expected next.”

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That’s just Butler’s public persona, a contrarian who likes to always keep people guessing.

So how many games does the 34-year-old Butler want to play in this regular season?

“Ten. Ten. That’s it. The number 10,” Butler said with a straight face.

Butler was obviously joking, but he made clear that the NBA’s new player participation policy won’t change how he operates.

The new policy, which was approved by the NBA Board of Governors this offseason, focuses on star players such as Butler and is intended to promote player participation in the NBA’s regular season.

The NBA also instituted a new policy that requires players to be on the court for 65 games, with minor exceptions, to be eligible for NBA MVP, All-NBA teams and other individual awards.

“Zero,” Butler said when asked how those new rules will impact how he manages his regular-season workload. “Because I don’t care about no All-NBA team, I don’t care about no damn awards. I’m going to play the games that I am healthy and I’m going to go out there and help my team win. They can put a number on whatever they want to put a number with, everybody can hate me, I’m still going to eat dinner with my kid at night. So that’s all I care about.”

But Butler is receptive to the NBA’s new in-season tournament.

“I like basketball,” Butler said. “In season, out of season, I just love to hoop, I love to compete with my guys, I love to wear the Miami Heat uniform and compete for this city and this organization. So in-season tournament, sign me up.”

As for Butler going to social media to accuse the Milwaukee Bucks of tampering right after news broke that star guard Damian Lillard was traded to the Bucks instead of the Heat last week, Butler laughed that off.

“I just say stuff all the time on my socials,” Butler said. “It’s funny because nobody ever knows what I’m doing. So it’s a big deal whenever I do do something on social besides play dominoes and go to tennis matches. So if I say check somebody for tampering, I guess everybody takes it serious.”

Butler insists he’s not upset the Heat did not land Jrue Holiday or Damian Lillard in trades this offseason. Instead, two of the Heat’s prime rivals acquired them with Holiday sent to the Boston Celtics and Lillard moved to the Bucks.

“I’m happy for both of those guys,” Butler said of Holiday and Lillard. “I’m more [ticked] off that [Lillard] went to Milwaukee, because he went to [new Bucks coach] Adrian Griffin’s team, and everybody knows I don’t like Adrian Griffin at all since my Chicago days. But I’m happy for Milwaukee. They got better, so he gives us the opportunity to be better.”

Butler was just poking fun at Griffin, who was a Bulls assistant coach during Butler’s time in Chicago.

So, why does Butler like to “troll” people?

“I don’t troll people. I’m minding my business,” Butler said with a grin. “I’m not bothering anybody. People just like to pay attention to what I’m doing. People care about me a little bit, I guess.”