Jimmy Butler Reveals Stories Behind His Jersey Numbers Throughout His Basketball Career

Jacari McRae | April 13th, 2020

Jimmy Butler wore number 33 in college, number 21 with the Chicago Bulls, and number 23 with both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers. He’s currently wearing number 22 in his first season with the Miami Heat.

Butler recently shared some interesting stories about why he chose those numbers with The Athletic’s Andre Fernandez.

“I played with one of the toughest individuals I’ve ever played with in my life — Taj Gibson. He taught me so much about how to be a pro. Sometimes people choose numbers because of someone that inspires them, and Taj is one of those people,” Butler told The Athletic on why he chose number 22.

“I wore 33 at Marquette. In high school, I wore No. 1 because of Tracy McGrady. My best friend, who’s a brother to me and (who) I moved in with, was No. 33. And as much as his family had done for me, I chose it because his mom’s favorite player was Larry Bird, and then it kind of stuck. It was all because of Larry Bird and Jordan Leslie.

I chose 21 in Chicago because I was drafted at 21. I played with a guy named Joe Fulce in junior college that wore 21. I wouldn’t have gotten in the league without him.

The number 23 (at Minnesota) was just because I was with Jordan Brand. I wasn’t comparing myself to Michael Jordan by any means. But I thought Jordan once wore 23 in Chicago and then when he moved on to another team. I was moving on from Chicago, so I thought, ‘I’m gonna take 23,’”

Before the NBA suspended play on March 11, Butler was leading the Heat to a stellar 41-24 record in the Eastern Conference. The Heat’s All-star was averaging 20.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 6.1 assists in his first season in Miami. Butler and his star
teammate Bam Adebayo represented Miami in the All-star game this past February. The Heat will likely try and acquire a third star to pair next to Butler and Adebayo. It’s no secret that both Washington’s Bradley Beal and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo are high on the team’s wish list.

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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images

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