As Jimmy Butler’s basketball fame grows, so does his reputation for being a real music enthusiast. The Bulls All Star recently shared the cover of ESPN’s magazine with Chicago-raised Grammy winner Chance the Rapper. He also has a well-known affinity for country pop star Taylor Swift. When Butler and his USA Olympic teammate Kyrie Irving jammed out to Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” on one of their flights last summer, some teammates were more amused than others. Jimmy doesn’t just love music, he thinks he’s really talented.
Soul, No Talent
Butler recently sat down with ESPN’s Sam Alipour for a Q&A about his taste in music. The setting? None other than Trader Todd’s, one of Chicago’s most popular karaoke bars in the Lakeview neighborhood. Speaking as a Lakeview resident, I’m very familiar with Trader Todd’s. It’s a fun place to spend a weekend evening if you don’t mind sticky floors and an aroma resembling a blend of vomit, urine and beer sweat.
Butler chats with Alipour about his preferred genres, and it’s a pretty eclectic library. R&B and country top the list, but Jimmy wasn’t ashamed to admit he’s a Belieber, too. Just as much as the basketball player enjoys listening to all kinds of music, he relishes his opportunities to sing like nobody’s listening. Unfortunately for Jimmy, the patrons at Todd’s on that early March evening probably wished they weren’t listening.
Butler takes the stage for a solo performance of R&B artist August Alsina’s “Nobody Knows.” Then, he welcomes Alipour onstage for a duet of the country band Florida Georgia Line’s “H.O.L.Y.” In both numbers, Jimmy’s true passion for the meaning behind the words shines through. But singing on pitch and in the right key?
…Woof. Not so much.
It took a lot of confidence for Butler to get where he is now. The unknown junior college player didn’t get much draft attention even after a solid career at Marquette. The 30th overall pick in 2011 saw very little playing time as a rookie. Now, he’s a three-time All Star coming off his first selection as a starter in the exhibition game. Confidence can take you far, but it can’t help you all that much when you’re tone deaf.
“When I hear myself sing – and it’s not recorded and played back to me – when I’m singing, I really think I sound really good. Like, top notch. Until somebody plays it back to me or I see it, and I’m like [nonverbal disgust].” – Jimmy Butler
At least Jimmy knows he’s not going to win a Grammy anytime soon. That’s why, if given the option, he’d choose fellow NBA All Star and Olympic teammate DeAndre Jordan to collaborate on an album.
“DeAndre Jordan, without a doubt. Because I sing so much better than he does. That’s going to make me sound that much better.” – Jimmy Butler
If Butler insists his singing sounds great compared to DeAndre’s, let us all hope and pray that we never hear that collaborative album. Because I’m not sure what’s worse: subjecting my eyes to the Bulls in their current losing streak or subjecting my ears to their best player’s vocal performances.
Don’t quit your day job, Jimmy.