Jimmy Butler wants to play in Brazil after finishing NBA career with Heat: ‘I really do want to play for Flamengo’

Jonathan Sherman
4 Min Read
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler is known for doing things his way, and it looks like that trend will continue whenever his NBA career comes to an end.

During a recent conversation with Rohan Nadkarni of GQ, Butler explained that he has a goal of playing basketball in Brazil following his NBA career. He even has his eyes set on a specific team: the famous Basquetebol do Clube de Regatas do Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro.

“Last August, Butler told me a Heat jersey would be the last one he wore, unless he decided to play in the NBB—Brazil’s top basketball league,” Nadkarni wrote. “(Butler has recently spent a lot of time in Brazil, in large part due to Neymar.) In the paddock I ask if that’s still his goal.

“‘I mean, yeah. In the NBA? For sure,’ Butler says. ‘But then after that, I really do want to play for Flamengo. I tell everybody, I’m half-Brazilian.’

“And then he adds, a little more seriously:

“‘I feel at home, man. I really care about the city, I really care about the people in this city. Miami has embraced me. They’ve wanted me to bring them something they haven’t done since LeBron [James], D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) and C-Bosh (Chris Bosh). And I want to do that. So as soon as I get this knee back right, I’m right back on they a– and everybody know it.'”

For Heat fans, the final portion of Butler’s quote is likely more meaningful. Ever since the Heat’s season came to an end after a disappointing first-round exit in the 2024 NBA Playoffs, rumors have been swirling about Butler’s future with the franchise.

While there may be some understandable reasons why some believe Butler’s future in Miami could be in question, there is no doubt that his tenure with the team has been an impressive one.

Butler joined the franchise prior to the 2019-20 season. He was named an All-Star in his first season with the team and led the Heat to an unexpected Eastern Conference championship in the NBA bubble.

Though the Heat ultimately lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals that season, the run seemed like a good omen that Butler might eventually manage to bring a championship back to South Florida.

Since then, the Heat have advanced to two additional Eastern Conference Finals. One came in the 2022-23 season when they managed to upset the Boston Celtics to earn another conference championship. The Heat went on to lose in the NBA Finals once again, last year at the hands of the Denver Nuggets.

Unfortunately, the promised NBA championship remains undelivered.

It will be interesting to see if both sides manage to keep Butler in Miami for the foreseeable future. If that does not take place, Butler is sure to find a home elsewhere in the league.

So, even if he has plans to eventually play in Brazil, it’s likely that that won’t take place for a number of years.

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Jonathan has worked as a sports writer covering NBA and NFL news since 2017. He's a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Vikings.