NBA star Jimmy Butler had a messy departure from his previous team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he feuded with teammates and sat out games while demanding a trade. But since joining the Philadelphia 76ers, the team has not only had considerable on-court success, but Butler has been getting along perfectly with his teammates.
And, he also did something nice for the team’s employees.
According to a Twitter post made by reporter Keith Pompey, who covers the 76ers for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, Butler recently gave the gift of Air Jordan sneakers to the entire operations staff of the team — including “cooks, the cleaning crew, secretaries, [and] team doctors.” Butler, Pompey said, presented them with 67 pairs of the shoes in all.
Butler has an endorsement deal with Nike to wear Air Jordans, with various sneaker websites reporting that an “Air Jordan 6 Jimmy Butler” sneaker will debut in the coming weeks.
Since Butler’s trade from Minnesota to Philadelphia on November 10, the Sixers have thrived. They currently hold a 7-2 record since the trade went through. Butler has already won two games for the team with last-second shots, including one in overtime against New Orleans on November 17, which immediately followed a clutch defensive play by Butler.
Butler’s former team, the Timberwolves, have thrived as well without him. They also hold a 7-2 record since the trade, as former Sixer Robert Covington has fit seamlessly into Minnesota’s lineup. Karl-Anthony Towns, with whom Butler reportedly clashed, has emerged as a team leader.
During training camp in September, Butler went public with a trade demand from the Timberwolves, for reasons that reportedly ranged from desire for a big-money contract extension to dissatisfation with the team’s young stars — Towns and Andrew Wiggins — who Butler saw as immature. While coach Tom Thibodeau attempted to smooth over the situation and to keep him in the fold, Butler was ultimately traded in early November. The move appears to have worked out well for both teams.
Just as the presence of Kendall Jenner at home games hasn’t hurt the 76ers’ momentum, fears that Butler would clash with the Sixers’ young stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have also proven unfounded, at least so far.
It’s been quite a week for NBA stars giving the gift of shoes. The Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry, earlier this week, responded personally to a letter from a girl named Riley, asking why his Under Armour shoes aren’t labeled in girls sizes. Curry vowed to personally intervene, via Twitter, while also offering Riley a couple of pairs of shoes.