Fergie’s appalling rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and the fact that we’ve witnessed a glimpse of real defense being played in the closing minutes of the 2018 All-Star Game completely overshadowed one of the rare precedents pertaining to the NBA star showdown – Jimmy Butler opting not to participate in the most anticipated regular season game due to alleged fitness issues.

Butler’s unexpected decision made him the first player ever to sit out the All-Star Game with a DNP-CD. He surpassed DeMarcus Cousins who logged two and a half minutes of playing time last season despite both getting traded during the All-Star Weekend and having injury concerns, as well as Kobe Bryant who started and played three minutes back in 2008, undeterred by a pinky finger injury.

The 41 minutes spent on court in a comeback win against the Los Angeles Lakers just before the All-Star break apparently took too much of a toll on Butler, who told coach Mike D’Antoni not to bother incorporating him into the rotations prior to the game. Butler’s plea to take a night off and prepare for the Timberwolves’ final stretch of the season, during which they will fight hard to maintain home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, actually has a solid rationale.

Anyone acquainted with the coaching methods utilized by Tom Thibodeau is fully aware that he tends to run his starters to the ground during the regular season. Butler, who built a reputation of a resilient player in his six years in Chicago, got the opportunity to experience all the positives and the negatives that the unconventional approach of his first NBA coach entails for yet another season. He currently leads the entire league in minutes played with 37.3 minutes per contest, and his playing time peaked just before the All-Star break; in a stretch of five games in eight days leading up to the break Butler was spending almost 41 minutes per game on the court.

If we disregard the speculations that Butler was sick, or even hungover after a night of partying in Los Angeles, the pure numbers sure do provide a solid basis for his choice to ride the pine for the entirety of the All-Star Game. However, it seems that he could have handled the matter in a less selfish and a more tactful manner. He wouldn’t even have to look too far to find an example.