BUTLER SERVES UP WADE DISH

Dwayne Wade has been a great add for the Chicago Bulls, claims Jimmy Butler, despite the team’s up-down start.

The NBA All Stars remain a work in progress in their new tandem since Wade’s shock move from the Miami Heat back to his hometown in the summer.

Similar positions, similar style, scope for confusion? Not so, insists Butler.

“He has been amazing, he’s been great,” he said. “You watch the way he goes about everything on and off the floor and there’s no question why he is the type of player he is, why he’s been to so many All Star Games, All-NBA teams, won championships, you just feel it in that presence of him being around.

“And then you see the way he is off the floor and what he does in his community and his city and how he is with his family. He’s just a great human being. Everybody knows the person and the basketball player he is but off the floor the human being he is and the love he gives everybody, that’s what makes Dwyane Wade Dwyane Wade. And then he can flip a switch and be a fierce competitor on the court.”

Even so, the 14-13 Bulls – who visit the San Antonio Spurs on Christmas Day (BT Sport 1/NBA League Pass, 10pm) – are a pale shadow of the 1990s version that remains the league’s standard for excellence.

But that is a comparison the current squad, Butler affirms, will never try to fulfil.

“I think I want to leave my own legacy,” he said. “I want to be known for me winning games, not just for being in the same organisation as Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and all of those guys. I have my own legacy and story that I’m trying to write.

“Yeah, obviously, the goal, the reason you play this game is to win, so obviously, I would like do that. But I’m not living in MJ’s shadow, I’m trying to be the best version of myself that I can be.”

Chicago will not expect a merry Christmas in San Antonio where the Spurs will likely throw Kawhi Leonard at him and expect him to stick. But Butler sees parallels in the journey of both to All Star status against the expectations of few.

“He’s a great player overall, not just as a defender, but he plays both sides of the ball extremely well,” he said. “I just think the amount of work we both put into it in the summer and every single day is the reason our careers have taken off the way that they have.

“I don’t compare myself to anybody, I don’t feel like I have to play well against anybody else, I just feel as though every night I have to do whatever it takes for the team to win, no matter my match-up. It’s not whose better than who, it’s all about the team winning the game.”

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