The Jimmy Butler situation has been awful. As a fan of the NBA it has been interesting—at times—but has mostly just dragged on as every outlet has just rehashed the same talking points. It doesn’t seem like anyone knows what is going to happen next.
This whole saga has been entirely carried out off the court—until the season began. As soon as Butler was introduced to a mixed bag of boos and cheers in the Timberwolves home opener this debacle bled onto the court and now into the stands.
On Saturday night the Timberwolves faced the Mavericks and a chant started to rise from sections 112 and 113 in AAC.
His name rang through the arena with the normal cadence of a basketball chant any time a Timberwolves player stepped up to the free throw line. It was incredible. The chants grew until they culminated in a missed free throw from Towns with 1:41 left and the Timberwolves down by 5 points.
It was a perfect storm. Butler played in the Timberwolves first game of the season in San Antonio as well as their home opener against the Cavaliers. But Butler didn’t play against the Mavs—he wasn’t even in the building.
To whatever degree, the chants seemed to work and the Mavs beat the Timberwolves. But now, Mavs fans may have opened up a can of wolves that will haunt Minnesota for the rest of the season. Their next few road games are against three of the best home crowds in the NBA: Toronto, Golden State, and Portland.
Will they continue the chant?