This has become one of the NBA’s best bits. Butler is entering his 13th season in the league, and along the way, he’s become wise to how the media machine works. Last year, upon realizing that the headshot he’d take at media day would be used all season for in-game graphics, starting lineup photos, and other visual material, he donned some hair extensions that he knew would not match his actual on-court look at all. (It’s still, hilariously, his photo on Basketball-Reference.)
Look, the NBA season is grueling, and it hasn’t even started yet. Bringing some real-life humor to the occupation is a welcome sight, especially for a player as famous as Butler. As pop punk royalty Paramore—perhaps part of the inspiration for Butler’s appearance—said, “Ain’t it fun, living in the real world?” Any sort of glimpse into a player’s real personality is extremely fun and welcome behavior, and for someone who’s a documented troll like Butler, it just adds to his lore.
Also, if we’re being honest, he just looks great. Butler will almost definitely have his hair twisted back into his usual braids when the Heat tip off their season on October 25, but we don’t hate this To Write Love On Her Arms aesthetic for him. Swoopy bangs, face piercings, nasally voice whining about unrequited love is a type of guy that is slowly going extinct. For those of us who remember not only growing up around those types, but also reading their MySpace ramblings while a Taking Back Sunday song blared from their profile, seeing Butler embrace angst was about the best thing that could have come from an NBA media day, which is usually a pretty humdrum experience. Maybe you were one of those kids! This is the representation from the jock side of the aisle that most middle and high schools could desperately use.
In the past, we’ve seen Butler enjoy different parts of the South Florida lifestyle by chumming it up with courtside DJ Khaled or playing dominoes and sipping a colada in Little Havana. Whether he knows it or not, Butler has now embraced a different part of South Florida culture, one that spawned emo heroes Dashboard Confessional, New Found Glory, and Mayday Parade. Citing a new emotional state, he also got some new threads that he debuted in what is technically his first tunnel fit of the season.