Jimmy Butler Continues to Work Harder Than Competition in Summer

Aug 12, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; United States forward Jimmy Butler (4) reacts with teammates during the game against Serbia in the preliminary round of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; United States forward Jimmy Butler (4) reacts with teammates during the game against Serbia in the preliminary round of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Bulls star wing player Jimmy Butler doesn’t believe in offseasons.

When Jimmy Butler wants something, he works for it.

Big-name universities neglected to recruit him out of high school, so he decided to work hard so he could eventually transfer from junior college to Marquette University.

When analysts doubted his ability to crack an NBA rotation, he worked. When he was sick of being labeled as a one-dimensional defensive specialist, he worked even harder.

Even after making his second All-Star team last year and helping Team USA win a gold medal at the Rio Olympics this summer, Jimmy Butler still isn’t satisfied.

“I got a lot more goals that I [want to] reach,” said Butler during an appearance on FS1’s ‘The Herd’ with Colin Cowherd on Tuesday. “My main goal, I really do want to win an NBA Championship. That is number one for me.”

Chris Johnson, who calls himself an NBA Basketball Skill Development and Success Coach, will figure prominently in helping Butler achieve his ‘main goal.’

In an exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated writer Andrew Sharp, Johnson talked about what it is like to coach a maniacal fitness freak like Jimmy Butler.

"I’ll get up at 5 in the morning. Typically my first workout is with Jimmy Butler. Jimmy gets up at 5:30. He’s gonna have his shake, he’s gonna have his breakfast, and then we’re on the floor by 7 a.m. We already have his entire day planned out. Two basketball workouts on the floor, and [in between] he’s going to get strength and conditioning, treatment, and we have his schedule for the week.He looked at me like I was crazy, but that dude showed up every day. We lived in the gym. Three times a day, four times a day. Whatever it took. He wouldn’t even get sick. A lot of guys will call the trainer, “Hey man, I don’t feel good. I feel like I’ve got the flu, I’ve got a head cold. Can we work out tomorrow instead?” Jimmy never missed a day.Yeah, like Jimmy, we literally would get in a fight if I found out he was on the basketball court. And he knows it. He’ll sneak and shoot jumpers. I caught him and Jaylen Brown playing one-on-one this summer, and I was like, “Jimmy! You supposed to be resting.” And he’s like, “Aw, I’m gonna just go sit down over here.”"

The success Butler has enjoyed over the last couple of seasons hasn’t made him complacent. His various social media accounts document the training he has put in this summer as he looks to take the next step in his development as an NBA player.

During a recent vacation to Los Cabos, Mexico, Butler spent more time working on toning his body than enjoying the white sand beaches and clear water of the Mexican municipality. At least he had teammate Doug McDermott as a workout buddy.

Butler’s fitness trainer Travelle Gaines tweeted a video of the killer beach workout Butler alludes to in his Instagram post description.

Gaines stocked his Twitter account with videos of Butler’s training program this summer.

Along the way, Butler has also accumulated an impressive repertoire of training partners. Among the athletes Butler sweated alongside this summer were DeAndre Jordan, McDermott, NFL players Antonio Brown and Russell Wilson and the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Jaylen Brown.

In addition to all the workouts, his Olympic experience forced him to hone his skills earlier in the summer than he would have otherwise. It also forced him to work extra hard, again earlier in the summer than normal, to get into basketball shape in preparation to compete against the best players in the world. International competition will always benefit NBA players as a sort of preseason rust-buster as long as the player can stay healthy.

With all of this in mind, it was a shame how tone-deaf Butler approached his perceived leadership role on this team last season. His incredible work ethic should have set a precedent the rest of his teammates could have followed.

Next: How will the Chicago Bulls close out games this season?

However, the impact of the example he should have set withered away when he disrespected his teammates with his forceful attempt at grabbing the leadership role, and his refusal to follow the initiatives of his head coach.

Butler’s work ethic is admirable and should serve as a benchmark his other teammates can strive to follow. As the best player on this team, he needs to learn to become a successful leader and also lose the sense of entitlement that contributed to his failed attempt at leadership last season.

Butler has shown he can work hard enough to transform himself into an NBA All-Star. However, will he work hard enough to improve his leadership style and attitude to avoid isolating his teammates and contributing to the locker room turmoil that defined last season?

The answer to that question could go a long way towards determining how good the Bulls are this season.