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Jimmy Butler hopes to play without name on jersey

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Butler said if he wasn’t an NBA player, “I’m no different than anybody else of color.”

Miami Heat v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Unlike some other Heat players, Jimmy Butler won’t have a social justice message on his jersey when the NBA resumes in late July.

And if he has his way, Butler won’t even have his last name on his jersey. Speaking to the media for the first time since the NBA suspended its season March 11, Butler explained his reasoning.

“But for me, I felt like with no message, with no name, it’s going back to like who I was. If I wasn’t who I was today, I’m no different than anybody else of color. I want that to be my message in the sense that just because I’m an NBA player, everybody has the same right no matter what.”

During a town hall with other Heat players on Juneteenth, Butler recounted hearing the n-word from a six-year-old boy and his father while walking out of a Walmart.

The five-time All-Star said that he is waiting on NBA approval to play without his last name on his jersey. He also said that he considered opting out of the season restart.

In other news, Erik Spoelstra said that KZ Okpala, a 2019 second-round pick who spent most of the season with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, has gained about 10-12 pounds to his frame. As we’ve discussed here earlier, Heat executive Adam Simon mentioned in May that he was pleased with Okpala’s development.