sIt’s been one of the under-discussed stories of this forced suspension of the NBA: Many players do not have baskets to shoot on. They haven’t needed one. In the city where they play they have 24-hour access to the team facilities, and if the player lives in another market they will have connections with high schools, colleges, or other spots. There’s always a place to get up shots.
Until there isn’t. In the case of the Miami Heat, only Goran Dragic had a basket at his house.
But Butler decided enough was enough and bought a basketball hoop for himself to work with at his home in the San Diego area. As first reported by the Miami Herald, the All-Star wing then had portable baskets sent to each Heat player and coach to make sure they had one, too, as they wait out the NBA hiatus…
The baskets from Lifetime, a company based in Utah that manufactures various products, were delivered to Heat players and coaches a few days ago. Even the players living in condominiums and two-way contract players living in a Miami hotel received them, with the option to have them then sent to their offseason homes.
“Two days ago I received a big box, I opened it and it was a basketball hoop from Jimmy,” Dragic said Sunday in an Instagram Live discussion with Heat television host Jason Jackson. “My first hoop [that I have] is for kids. So basically, it was not a real hoop for me. Yesterday [Saturday] I was putting together all these pieces and finally I made it. I already shot some shots to take advantage of that. Jimmy, thank you brother. I appreciate it.”
Butler also is donating some of the same baskets to youth centers around Miami, once children in the area are allowed to assemble and play at the centers again.
Hopefully, we get to find out if having those baskets and getting up shots helped the Heat players because the league started up again. There remains a lot of optimism and determination around the league to find a way to complete the season and have a playoffs in some form, but there also are no answers as to when, where, or exactly how yet.