Jimmy Butler wasn’t supposed to be in this position. He was homeless for brief stints during the age of 13. Written off as a two-star recruit and relegated to play his first year at a Junior College, he was considered a role player by the time he reached Marquette until his second year. Butler was nearly left out of the first round of the NBA Draft. Now on the eve of a max contract offer from a team dwelling in America’s third largest market, all of his hard work is finally about to pay off. Jimmy was awarded the NBA’s Most Improved Player this season, and he took a reported 75 percent pay cut for what he perceived was an improvement in footwear too, ditching adidas for Jordan Brand.
Butler’s tenacity and team play fit right into his previous sponsorship with adidas, a brand that stripped the Bulls of their Jordan Brand affiliations thanks to a securing a hefty 13 year, $185 million contract to one-time MVP Derrick Rose. Jimmy fell in line with the likes of Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, following Rose’s lead in three stripe branding. Then Derrick Rose broke down. Numerous season ending injuries to the point guard stilted Chicago’s once high title hopes, but it also gave Jimmy Butler room to develop into the All-Star selection he was this season.
There is something to be said about adidas’ presence in the United Center despite the imposing bronze statue of Michael Jordan in his Air Jordan 9s welcoming fans at the front gates – for many it just feels off. But for now, despite a looming off-season full of uncertainty for Chicago, their All-Star can be found wearing a pair of Black and Red sneakers proudly sporting a Jumpman insignia. It cost him a near three quarters of his earning potential in the footwear department, and to him it was worth it. Butler’s move may help restore some sanity in a league full of sleeved jerseys, potential ads on uniforms, and more surface level changes looking to overhaul the aesthetic of the NBA’s golden age nostalgia. That’s a step in the right direction even if it means Jimmy is losing out on some short-term gains for a bigger payoff in the future. It’s the cost of cool.
Source: Crain’s Chicago Business
Jimmy Butler rehabbing a wrist injury in the Air Jordan 14 “Ferrari”. Too bad he never broke this pair out during a late-season Bulls game.
Butler also donned the Air Jordan 14 “Black Toe” in one of the few instances he laced up a retro on court during the regular season.
Jimmy Buckets saved the Air Jordan 11 “Legend Blue” for game use though.
Jordan Brand gave Butler the Air Jordan 20 “Laser” a few months early to show off the celebratory release.
He even broke out 2014’s Air Jordan 10 “Infrared” this season. We’re still waiting on the Double Nickel and Bulls Over Broadway pairs to make an appearance. There’s always next season (pending a switch to Purple and Gold).
Jordan Brand’s most recent signee played in the latest performance model – the Air Jordan XX9 – for most of the regular season though despite the few noteworthy, albeit random, retro wears pictured above.