Jimmy Butler is on his way to the recording studio from the basketball court.
The Miami Heat player talked about his aspirations to release his debut country album in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. He also shared his story of how he got started in the genre and why he wasn’t inspired to learn the guitar by Garth Brooks.
With a sly remark that his partners are “some real artists and songwriters,” Butler, 34, told the outlet that he’s been “in the lab writing and producing country music,” but he wants to keep them a “surprise.”
With intentions to create more, the NBA star currently has “around 45 tracks” created. “I might get down and work on it a week prior to training camp,” he remarked. “There will undoubtedly be an album. That is the aim. Well, I’m not sure when.
Butler also hinted that “some of the songs” would appear on a follow-up album in the future. “The date I want to do it always gets pushed back because this other job that I have, playing basketball, kind of overshadows everything,” Butler continued. “I am eager to distribute it to the public.”
When his teammates at Marquette University insisted on playing hip-hop songs in the locker room, he “fell in love with country music in the fall of 2010” and began playing Tim McGraw’s “Don’t Take the Girl” out of retaliation.
“Since it was the only country song I had, I downloaded it, went back to the locker room, and began blasting that song nonstop. Everyone was like, ‘Turn that s— down!’” Butler recalled, “Ain’t nobody want to hear that!”
He insisted on singing the song out loud and quickly developed a greater appreciation for the genre, turning into a fan of musicians such as McGraw, Faith Hill, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Trisha Yearwood, and Brooks.
It was a very tortuous path for musical ability. These days, hip hop and R&B are essentially mirrored in country music. These amazing sounds are being sung by Dan and Shay. I’m really into it now, in 2023, and I try to go to as many concerts as I can,” Butler remarked.
Brooks was the first country musician he saw live after signing with the NBA in 2011; it occurred during a residency show in Las Vegas. Butler remembered, “I got to see him sing and this was at a point in time when I was trying to learn how to play guitar,” adding that he was more interested in studying the “Callin’ Baton Rouge” musician’s hands than the song.
He saw Yearwood and Brooks backstage after the performance, but he wasn’t really paying attention. His hands were so callused from playing the guitar that all I could do was stare at them.”
I remarked, ‘So, my hands will have to look like that if I’m going to get as excellent as you?’” I never touched a guitar again because I didn’t want my hands to appear like that after we said our goodbyes, Butler added. “I no longer play the guitar; instead, I write country music.”
Butler has already made a friend in Morgan Wallen, another country musician, who just so happens to have a show in Toronto on September 14th, the birthday of the basketball player. He said, “I want to come onstage and just sing one line of a song. I’ve already talked to him about it.” “I could sing a lot of his songs, but all I want to sing is one line from “98 Braves.” Sometimes I’ll even sing an entire verse!”