How Jimmy Butler arranged workouts at 4:30 a.m. to send a message
VETERAN LEADERSHIP

How Jimmy Butler arranged workouts at 4:30 a.m. to send a message

After he left Philadelphia to sign with the Heat, Jimmy Butler said none of his 76ers teammates worked as hard as he did. Well, a 31-year-old star can’t say the same thing about his teammates in Miami.

It’s not like Butler lowered the bar after taking his talents to South Beach. He’s still the same player he was, demanding the same level of excellence from his teammates. The only difference is, guys around Jimmy have bought into the culture he created, and it all starts with Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro.

Ever since joining the NBA, the two sharpshooters imposed themselves as the hardest-working members of the collective, fitting in perfectly with everything the Heat culture embodies.

We were just working every single day. We were coming in at 6 in the morning for a month or two there, and it was good.

Tyler Herro, The Long Shot Podcast

What kept them going is an internal competition the two developed between one another. So if one of them were in the gym working out, the other one would make sure he’s right there with him.

I found out you were coming in at 6 am, and I was like, ‘He’s not going to get work in while I’m sleeping.’ So then I would start to ask you, I’d be like, ‘T, you going in the morning?’ You’d be like, ‘yeah, man.’ So then I would be there at 6 a.m., and we had a little crew at 6 a.m.

Duncan Robinson, The Long Shot Podcast

All of a sudden, two 20-year-olds were seen as the locker room’s workhorses, and Jimmy didn’t like it. He loved the standard they had set but hated he wasn’t the one setting it.

He wanted to be already done in a full sweat with his workout by the time we get there.

Duncan Robinson, The Long Shot Podcast

What did Butler do? He formed a different crew — one whose workouts began at 4:30 a.m — all with the intention of trying to be one up on Herro and Robinson. And according to the latter, that’s the key to the Heat’s success — the collective competitiveness within Miami’s locker room that makes all the pieces fit together.

But it has to be orchestrated by Jimmy Butler. And 4:30 workouts show he’s willing to do whatever it takes to stay in charge.