NBA Eastern Conference Finals MVP Jimmy Butler didn’t want to touch the trophy, and when his All-Star teammate Bam Adebayo offered Butler the chance he shook his head and backed away — like the hardware had a virus he didn’t want to get close to.
What might you call that virus? COMPLACENCY is one word for it, and it’s a virus the Miami Heat and their two leaders — Butler and Head Coach Erik Spoelstra are on guard against at all times.
Below is a crucial moment when it might creep in, but no…
The commentary on the compelling video above has generally focused on the powerful dynamic inherent in Butler’s refusal — the idea that consolation prizes, like merely getting to the NBA Finals, aren’t to be celebrated. (Indeed Butler, Adebayo and the Heat went to the Finals in the Orlando Bubble but didn’t win the chip, and that is the only goal worth celebrating.)
But perhaps the focus should be less on Butler than on Spoelstra, whose face says more than words ever could about his admiration for Butler’s character, and the fact that these two men are on the very same page, the same sentence, reading the same word in perfect harmony.
Just look at how Spoelstra knows and shows on his face that his top warrior Butler is ready for what comes next, that Butler understands perfectly there’s a job ahead to do. Spoelstra — among the best ever to do it — exhibits an absolute affection for Butler than can only derive from a shared understanding and shared goals, and a shared willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve it.
Spoelstra’s face says “I can trust this man” — and for a coach, there is no better feeling in the world. Or as one fan said in the comments, “pure love.”