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Jimmy Butler maintains stance: Heat 'not underdogs' in NBA Finals

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·2-min read

Underdogs? Nah.

Jimmy Butler knows not many expected his Miami Heat to reach the NBA Finals. And not many will take them against the Los Angeles Lakers when that series gets underway on Wednesday night.

But he doesn’t like to think of his team as the underdogs and explained in a media conference what he does see the Heat as ahead of Game 1.

“A really good team. That’s it. A really good team. [I’m] not gonna say that we’re any better than anybody else, but I just don’t think that we’re underdogs. I don’t. So what that nobody picked us to be here. That’s OK. Pretty sure nobody’s picking us to win, either. That’s OK. But we understand that. We embrace that. Because at the end of the day, we truly don’t care. We’re just going to come out here and compete, play together like we always have and see where we end up. But at the end of the day, we’re going to do this our way, the Miami Heat way. That way’s worked for us all year long.”

The Heat, led by Butler and center Bam Adebayo, already closed out the Eastern favorite Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Then, they dispelled the Boston Celtics to get back to their first NBA Finals since 2014.

Ahead of the Eastern Conference finals, Butler said the team doesn’t use the word “underdog.”

“We don’t really use ‘underdog,’” Butler said, via ESPN. “We may say that we have a chip on our shoulder, but I don’t think that we’re the underdog. I think that we’re a really good team. We play together. Everybody knows their role. We just compete.

“... I think we’re supposed to be here. That’s how we think of it. To me, to us, that’s all that matters. We’re not underdogs. We’re competitors.”

Now they’re up against LeBron James making his 10th Finals appearance and a Lakers franchise that hasn’t won the title since 2010 when Kobe Bryant was playing. Butler said during the media conference that James is “still at the top of his game at 35” years old and is dominating.

But, he said, “if anyone is up to that task, the Miami Heat are.”

Jimmy Butler slaps hands on the court with teammates.
Jimmy Butler would rather you not call the Miami Heat "underdogs." (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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