A day after Jimmy Butler suffered a right knee meniscal injury in Houston that would require surgery, everyone would have understood if he didn’t show up to an event the next day in Minneapolis.
That might even be an expectation for someone who could miss more than a month (his official timeline is listed as “indefinitely).
But not for Butler. This was too important.
On Saturday, before the Wolves took on the Bulls, Butler met with fan Matthew Jong from Seattle. Matthew is more than just a huge Jimmy Butler fan. He’s a 14-year-old who is battling aplastic anemia, a rare condition in which the body stops producing enough new blood cells. This causes Matthew feeling tired and puts him at a higher risk of infections and uncontrolled bleeding.
The two were put in touch through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Butler met with Matthew and his family, joked about their favorite sports (surprisingly, not basketball) and Butler signed Matthew’s Statement Edition jersey. Right away, Matthew was shy but warmed up and even cracked a few jokes of his own.
Matthew’s family toured the Timberwolves offices, sat on the Timberwolves bench pregame, ate dinner in the Lexus Courtside Club and watched the Wolves beat the Bulls in front of a sold-out crowd.
It was truly a day that the Jong family, or Butler, won’t forget.
Some things are bigger than basketball.