Jimmy Butler is afraid of water and uncomfortable on USA Basketball's boat

Eric Freeman
Jimmy Butler only wants to see bottled water in Rio. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Jimmy Butler only wants to see bottled water in Rio. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Unlike their shorter, less famous peers, USA Basketball’s senior men’s and women’s national team is not staying in the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro. In fact, that’s been standard practice since NBA players began to participate in 1992 in order to ensure the safety and comfort of highly visible and very tall athletes.

As you may have heard, that pursuit of comfort has led the two squads and accompanying personnel to stay on a luxury cruise ship in Rio de Janeiro, which sounds like a pretty great way to spend a few weeks. No one with USA Basketball will have to suffer the same discomfort as Dallas Mavericks and Australia center Andrew Bogut.

Yet not every Olympian is thrilled to be on that luxurious ship. Jimmy Butler, an All-Star with the Chicago Bulls, is participating in his first major tournament for USA Basketball. Unfortunately, he’s also afraid of water and sounds very uncomfortable on that boat. From Dan Gartland for SI.com:

“Jimmy Butler doesn’t like water,” DeAndre Jordan told SI.com’s Chris Chavez. “So we were talking about, ‘Would you jump off the boat or would you get in?’ [He says,] ‘No and don’t play with me about it.’ He definitely does not like the water at all.”

He apparently hates water so much that he’s asked for a room without a view.

“(Jimmy) don’t want to be near the water,” Draymond Green said. “He doesn’t want his room facing the water. Nothing. It’s incredible to me.”

I have a good friend who is deathly afraid of open water, so I can understand why Butler doesn’t want to have anything to do with Guanabara Bay. It probably doesn’t help matters that this particular body of water is polluted enough to make several Olympic events legitimately dangerous. Even those without phobias might want to stay away.

On the other hand, it’s not as if Butler is sleeping in a little sailboat. He’s in a massive, stationary luxury liner that arguably has more in common with an apartment building than it does a boat. No one ever said that fears like this one were supposed to make sense, but there are plenty of factors here that should help him feel safe. At least he was sensible enough to ask for a room that faces in the other direction.

Whatever the case, we’re going to assume that Butler, a Houston native, did not spend a lot of time hanging out around the Gulf of Mexico as a child or near Lake Michigan as a member of the Bulls. At least that will help him to save a little bit on housing. You usually pay a premium for water views.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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