The Miami Heat star has made a bold proclamation, even if he didn’t mean anyone to hear it.
Jimmy Butler has never lacked for confidence and, during this playoff run, he has plenty to brag about.
Butler is averaging 34.4 points on 56.4% shooting, 6.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists in seven playoff games, including the Miami Heat’s 105-86 win over the New York Knicks in Saturday’s Game 4. After the game, according to David Ramil of the “Locked On Heat” podcast, Butler declared himself the best player in the world.
“I’m the best f—ing player in the world. Double teams, triple teams, it don’t matter,” Ramil recalled Butler saying as he walked to the locker room following a 28-point outing.
With how Butler is playing, it’s hard to argue. The Heat entered the postseason as the no. 8 seed, then dispatched the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. They are now up 2-1 over the Knicks and two games away from returning to the Eastern Conference finals.
These playoff stretches aren’t new for Butler, who carried the Heat to within a possession of last season’s NBA Finals. Butler averaged nearly 23 points per game during the regular season, but has made it a point to ramp up his scoring and set the tone for Miami in this postseason.
Butler’s performance is even more important for the Heat considering that the team lost Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo in the opening round. He missed one game with a right ankle sprain, which the Heat lost. He then returned and helped lead Miami’s blowout win against the Knicks over the weekend, prompting his overheard outburst.
With a win Monday night, the Heat will take a 3-1 lead in the series, with the winner of Celtics-76ers potentially looming. Both the Celtics and 76ers are talented and deep. The Sixers, of course, are led by the MVP Joel Embiid and the resurgent James Harden. The Celtics featured the top scoring duo of the regular season in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
For the Heat to continue this run, Butler will have to keep playing like “the best f—-ing player in the world.”