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This awkward interview perfectly defines Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler is having a wonderful season for the Miami Heat, who appear to be quite a good team after a few seasons of purgatory. Against the upstart Suns on Thursday, Butler scored 34 points on 11-of-16 shooting with five rebounds, four assists, and just one turnover. That’s some remarkably efficient production. That’s worthy of some post-game glory.

Butler is an old-school personality who embraces being the big star and considers himself a strong leader. Consider how he created tumult in Minnesota when he felt the higher-paid, less accomplished players couldn’t live up to his standard. Consider how he left a vital but supplemental role the star-studded Sixers to be the alpha dog on a lesser Miami team.

Now watch how that becomes expressed as Butler tries to complete a postgame local broadcast interview about his amazing exploits while young teammates try desperately to videobomb him.

First, Meyers Leonard sets up camp with a towel to try to disrupt Butler’s interview. Butler breaks off to firmly encourage Leonard to hit the showers. Bam Adebayo, Butler’s burgeoning co-star on the Heat, must have either missed that interaction or thought he could succeed where Leonard did not. So Adebayo sets up a bit more circumspect, mostly out of Butler’s sightline … and Butler still sees him and stops the interview to dismiss him! Amazing court vision from Jimmy.

Adebayo hangs in there to share some dap and get a “great game” and even a “please” from Butler. But nonetheless, he is dismissed by Butler. There will be no videobombing here.

Fox Sports Sun courtside reporter Jason Jackson can’t continue on without addressing Butler’s objection to videobombing after that interruption, so he asks: why don’t you like it? And Butler gives the most Jimmy Butler answer possible:

“It’s not about them right now, it’s about me.”

One of the beauties of Butler is his lack of airs, his total transparency about who he is, what he values. It extends to his game: there’s no trickery to his effort, no innovation. He’s just really solid in all aspects of basketball and he works as hard as anyone in the league on and off the court. He’s pure and unadorned in a way that so many savvy stars aren’t.

That’s not a value judgment of preference of this type of personality over more simpatico, silly types. They all have value and make the NBA a rich tapestry of characters. Jimmy’s style — serious, firm, old-school — is not in vogue and hasn’t been for a decade. The honesty and self-regard of it is frankly refreshing when it pops up. Having Jimmy and a couple of other Butler-type characters in the NBA is the right dose.

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