In another life, Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler could have been a football player destined to play in Sunday’s Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium.
No, wait, check that …
“In another life?” he asked. “In this life. I think I’m a football player. I’m not joking around. It’s scary. I really believe I’m a football player and not a basketball player.”
He has a regulation NFL football given to him by Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, and he often symbolically carries it almost everywhere he goes.
If you watch him play, you might see a football mentality as well.
At 6-8, he has the size and then some to be a tight end or receiver.
“These are the surest hands west of the Atlantic, and I just got burners,” he said. “I’m just fast.”
He certainly has a love for the game. What else would you expect from a man Texas-born and raised in Tomball, on the outskirts of Houston?
“My teammates are starting to really believe me now,” Butler said. “At first, they were like, ‘Jimmy, ha ha, funny, funny, funny. You’re just joking.’ But now they’re like, ‘Yo, he’s really serious,’ because I talk about it all the time and I really do think I’m a football player.”
Butler is believed to have secured a Target Center suite Sunday for himself and his teammates. He recently was asked if he has tickets for the big game.
“Do I have Super Bowl tickets?” he asked.
“Why would I not have tickets to a game one day I’ll be playing in?”
Teammate Karl-Anthony Towns is set to watch his beloved Eagles, for whom he has cheered since Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and Terrell Owens played in Philadelphia. He has nine tickets for family and friends.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s going to be really cool to see them in the Super Bowl again. That hasn’t happened in a long time [since 2005] and I get to go home right after the game and don’t have to fly back out to do it. It’s going to be a lot of fun because I’m going to be with my family and my loved ones.
“My girlfriend and her family are huge Eagles fans, so it’s going to be a lot of fun to be with them as well.”
Towns predicts a 30-24 Eagles victory, which contradicts his coach. A New Englander through and through, Tom Thibodeau isn’t predicting a score, but his loyalty is clear even if he doesn’t attend the game.
“I’ll be watching, I’ll be rooting like crazy,” he said, “but we have stuff we have to do.”
Thibodeau chatted in his office with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who attended the Wolves-Milwaukee game Thursday at Target Center.
“It’s amazing what he has done,” Thibodeau said. “I grew up as a kid thinking the Patriots never win the Super Bowl. We can get there, but we don’t win. And now my nephew’s view of it is entirely different. They think the Patriots should win it every year. That’s a good way to grow up.”
Thibodeau said Belichick might be the best to have coached.
“Ever,” Thibodeau said. “In any sport.”