Jimmy Butler's week: A baby, a Heat debut and a first win

ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 31, 2019 07:46 AM
Jimmy Butler's week: A baby, a Heat debut and a first win
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) reacts after scoring during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) — A late-arriving baby. A delayed Miami debut. A lot of lost sleep.

Jimmy Butler’s first official week with the Heat was one he won’t forget.

Getting the distinction of being the last Miami starter to be introduced — a role Dwyane Wade held for most of his Heat tenure, the honor that typically goes to the player deemed to be the face of the franchise — Butler has finally gotten onto the court with his new team.

The debut went well: He scored 21 points, making his first four shots, and the Heat defeated the Atlanta Hawks 112-97. And afterward, he was going home to his newborn daughter.

“All good things,” Butler said. “We won. Obviously, I’m a father. But I’m blessed beyond measure. I get to play basketball with some incredible guys, for an incredible organization. Life is good right now.”

The baby’s name is Rylee — pronounced the same way Heat President Pat Riley pronounces his last name. Mother and baby are both doing well, Butler said.

“I know I can handle it,” he said. “It’s fun. Hell, I get to be a dad and I get to hoop.”

Rylee, however, has no grasp yet on when the NBA season starts. She was due in mid-October. She didn’t arrive until Oct. 23 (Oct. 24, PHL time) — which was opening night for the Heat, and that meant her dad had to wait a few days to get onto the floor.

As the days of waiting stretched on, Butler started to suspect Rylee would pick opening night for her debut.

“I just had a feeling that God was going to show me what’s truly important in life,” Butler said.

The Heat more than held it down without him: They were 2-1 in the three games Butler watched from home to open the season.

When they arrived for work Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), Butler was beyond energetic.

“He was running around in shootaround like it was a playoff game,” coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Butler is going through all the new-dad issues: jagged sleep cycle, juggling training time with family time, fussing over the new mom and new baby — all while he was waiting to get his first season with the Heat underway.

He has no complaints.

“I started looking a life different a long time ago, but I definitely look at it way differently now,” Butler said. “I feel like every time I leave the house, every time I hop in the car, any time I do anything I’m like, ‘Yo, I’ve got to make it home.’ And I look forward to having that feeling for the rest of my life.”

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