Jimmy Butler sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols just hours after embarrassing Timberwolves players, coaches, and executives in his return to practice on Wednesday.
In that interview, he confirmed everything that was reported about his actions at practice and gave some context about why he acted the way he did.
Three minutes and 20 seconds of Butler’s interview aired on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Wednesday, and the rest is set to air Thursday on Nichols’ ESPN show, The Jump. The full transcript has been made available on ESPN.com. Here are some of the most savage moments from his interview.
7. Is it true, Jimmy?
From what we know, Butler went to practice and was talking all types of shit to Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, head coach Tom Thibodeau, and general manager Scott Layden. “You f——ng need me!” he reportedly said. “You can’t win without me!” The reports said he verbally challenged Towns and Wiggins for the short time he was there.
He also beat the Timberwolves starters — Towns, Wiggins, Taj Gibson, Derrick Rose, and Jeff Teague — with second- and third-string players, according to The Athletic, including Luol Deng, James Nunnally, and two-way guard Jared Terrell.
“A lot of it’s true,” Butler said of the reports. “A lot of it is true, but you got to think, I haven’t played basketball in so long and I’m so passionate and I love the game and I don’t do it for any other reason except to compete and to go up against the best to try and prove I can hang. So all my emotion came out at one time. Was it the right way to do it? No. But I can’t control that when I’m out there competing.”
So not only did he curse everybody out, but he also beat the starters in practice after basically not hooping all summer? Heard you, Jimmy. Heard you.
My dude Jimmy Butler busted KAT and Wiggins' ass with Jason Sudeikis running point then popped them hoop earrings in and started talking hella shit. I'm stanning.— Beyonce has an uncle named Larry Beyince. Bruh.... (@DragonflyJonez) October 11, 2018
Jimmy Butler yelled to the VP of Marketing "get me a salad for lunch. Balsamic vinaigrette!" and then dropped a 3 over Wiggins. This guy is incredible. #wolves— Pat Gallen (@PatGallenCBS3) October 10, 2018
6. Somebody should have said something
Butler lit into everybody around him, and when asked if he thought if was the right thing to do, he said he was just being honest, and if someone had a problem, they should have stepped to him and said something
Nichols: So do you think it was the wrong thing to do, or was it an OK thing to do?
Butler: I think that I was honest. Was I brutally honest? Yes. But I think that that’s the problem. Everybody’s so scared to be honest with one another. If you didn’t like the way I handled myself in practice, one of the players come up to me. Somebody say something, anybody. I’m not gonna take it as offense, it’s not personal. “Jimmy, you shouldn’t have done that.” “Yeah, you probably right,” and I would’ve said, “I ain’t hooped in I don’t know how long. I’m passionate about it. I love the game and I love to win.” And that’s all I was out there doing. I went into practice today and I competed.
EXCLUSIVE! Leaked video of Jimmy Butler at Timberwolves practice today pic.twitter.com/gnzThXEPU8— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 11, 2018
5. Can this situation be fixed?
Butler returned to practice, but does that mean he’s warming up to returning to Minnesota for good?
Nichols: Is it fixable?
Butler: It could be. It could be. But do I think so? No. Because you got to be honest. I’m being honest. Do I think so? No. I’m being honest with you. But is everybody gonna be honest? No. No, everybody’s not gonna be honest.
4. We need you, Jimmy
Those are the words Butler told Nichols he wanted to hear Wolves brass tell him. It wasn’t about the money, even though he declined a four-year, $110 million contract extension over the summer.
Nichols: They offered you an extension that would have given you four years, $110 million. The reports are that you wanted something else. That if they had moved some other pieces around, and freed up more money, that you would have gotten a renegotiation. It would have given you a shorter term contract, but more money. Is all that accurate?
Butler: It’s accurate. But it’s not about money. It’s not.
Nichols: So tell me what it’s about.
Butler: It’s about saying we need you. We want you here. We can’t do this without you. And that was the disconnect all along. You’re saying one thing and you’re saying it, and you’re saying it. I mean I’ve learned enough times in life that saying something is completely different than acting upon it.
3. The face
Jimmy Butler is living life on an emotional rollercoaster pic.twitter.com/lMJ633rHsu— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) October 10, 2018
2. They don’t want to win
One thing we know about Jimmy Butler: the man wants to win more than anything else. But he said that’s not the case with a few Timberwolves teammates he refused to name. And that’s what caused the disconnect in the Wolves’ locker room.
Butler: Everybody has to be honest, again, but everybody has to have winning as their No. 1 priority. Everybody [should feel that] winning is all that we’re worried about.
Nichols: Did you feel that that wasn’t the case with everyone?
Butler: Yeah. It was. It is. And I think that’s the part that everybody doesn’t see. But I’m gonna be honest. I’m not gonna say no names, but imma be honest. If your No. 1 priority isn’t winning, an people can tell? That’s the battle. Now, there’s a problem between people because that guy’s No. 1 priority is winning and that guy’s isn’t. Of course they’re gonna clash, like, ‘I’m doing this for the team. Are you?’ ‘Ehh.’ Exactly. So, that’s where the disconnect is.
This sounds a lot like a shot at Andrew Wiggins. And if it is? Sheeeeeeeeeeeeesh.
1. KAT didn’t want it
We’ve heard a few reports about what happened in Wolves practice on Wednesday, including a report from The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski saying Butler beat the starters with Luol Deng, James Nunnally, and two-way player Jared Terrell on his team.
And in the scrimmage, Butler said Towns never challenged him, despite talking trash:
Butler: “KAT. KAT came at me. We’re up in practice and he said, “Anybody can get this work!” I said, “Do it to me.” That’s all that I said. I said, “Every time I get switched out onto you, you pass it.” I’m a competitor, I’m in here talking, come at me. If you score on me, I’m gonna tap you on your butt. You got the best of me — but you got to do it every time.”
KAT: Anybody can get this work!— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 10, 2018
Jimmy Butler: pic.twitter.com/7Zb8IcwHN8
In the same breath, Butler also destroyed Towns and Wiggins for the talent they have but the lack of work ethic.
Butler: Who’s the most talented player on our team? KAT. Who’s the most god-gifted player on our team? Wigs. Wigs got the longest arms, the biggest hands, can jump the highest, can run the fastest. But like who plays the hardest? Me. I play hard. I play really hard. I put my body on the line every damn practice. Every day in the games. That’s my passion. That’s how I give to the game. That’s how I give to you guys.
The Timberwolves canceled Thursday’s practice, but they can only go so long without having another one. If they don’t trade Jimmy Butler, he’ll be there. This Minnesota nightmare will continue until Thibodeau, Layden, and owner Glen Taylor do something about it.