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Years Before Taylor Swift’s “Curse” Helped Heat, Jimmy Butler Danced to Travis Kelce’s Lover’s “22” Song

Published 09/26/2023, 4:14 PM EDT

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Basketball has had a long-standing connection with the world of music—especially hip-hop. From movies and advertisements to pre-game rituals, halftime entertainment, and post-game playlists, hip-hop’s influence on basketball is wide. Notably, some players have even ventured into it by releasing their albums. However, during the 2023 NBA playoffs, it appeared as though pop music was wreaking on the league. At least till the point, Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat faced off against the Denver Nuggets.

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The theory dates back to the playoffs when a Reddit user pointed out an unusual correlation involving Taylor Swift. The user suggested that Taylor’s concert choices held the key to predicting the outcomes of the Eastern Conference games. They claimed that the city where Swift chose to perform would see its NBA team’s elimination from the playoffs. The intriguing post quickly went viral and is still talked about today.

Jimmy Butler has Taylor Swift in his pre-game playlist


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Jimmy Butler, one of the top leaders in the league, stands out as one of its most prominent figures. His unparalleled will, coupled with a demeanor reminiscent of Michael Jordan, has propelled the Miami Heat toward championship contention. Yet, beyond his tough and no-nonsense exterior, Butler harbors a deep fascination with the music of Taylor Swift.

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While this revelation may surprise many fans, Butler has been quite open about his admiration for Swift’s music for quite some time. In 2015, he enthusiastically expressed his excitement about attending his very first Taylor Swift concert. Furthermore, during his tenure with the Chicago Bulls, there was a moment when he was caught on camera vibing to Swift’s hit song “22.”


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What’s more, adding an unexpected twist to the story is Taylor Swift’s response to Jimmy’s video; the instance happened when Dwyane Wade had some fun with Butler while discussing the video.

In recent years, with Butler’s increase in stardom, video of him grooving to Swift’s music has made multiple comebacks. Each time it resurfaces, it captivates more fans, drawing them into the 33-year-old’s charismatic musical world.

Kobe Bryant once claimed to be inspired by Swift

Kobe Bryant was renowned for his commitment to absorbing wisdom from the world’s finest. In doing so, he also became one of the wisest products of the game. Kobe always preached to be the best version of oneself and to learn from the people who did it the best. Kobe studied Michael Jordan, ultimately dominating the league like MJ. However, apart from basketball, Kobe instilled the same approach and learned from realms like directing, writing storytelling, and music.


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In a similar vein, Kobe expressed his admiration for Taylor Swift and her unwavering dedication to maintaining her position at the pinnacle of her craft.

Recognizing the immense effort, passion, and talent required to produce exceptional work consistently, he applauded Swift’s mental fortitude. He appreciated Swift’s success in surpassing superhit albums with even bigger ones.


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Moreover, Kobe affirmed that Swift served as a spring of inspiration for him, motivating him to refine his crafts continually.

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Written by:

Saahil Dhillan


One take at a time

Saahil Dhillan is an NBA Writer at Essentially Sports. He has been writing articles and blogs for 5 years now, including those for a sports brand that manufactures knee braces, for a Red Bull athlete in 2019 and for a documentary of an Ultra Running Coach in 2021. There’s plenty Saahil can write about why he likes basketball, having followed the NBA for more than 10 years, but he is most keen on picking out various offense/defense strategies, on/off-court decisions, roster changes in crunch time and other underrated key elements that leave an impact on the scoreboard.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja