Shaquille O'Neal demanded a divorce from Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers so loudly and publicly that a former Laker, Pat Riley, offered to mediate the two sides.
Alonzo Mourning told Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn to "protect your assets" by trading him in a public confrontation that became so pronounced Shinn later said, "It broke my heart."
Tim Hardaway demanded a trade from Golden State. Goran Dragic, the nicest guy in the world, wanted out so badly in Phoenix he told the media, "I don't trust them anymore."
And you think Jimmy Butler's strange day in Minnesota changes anything?
You think the Heat don't want Butler?
This only changes anything in that the Heat want Butler more. This shows Butler will "burn the boats," as Riley famously would say of an invading army that gives itself no ability to escape from a fight by burning the boats they sailed in on.
Butler flexed his muscle at Minnesota on Wednesday in the manner only an NBA star can do in sports. After demanding a trade and skipping weeks of practice and preseason, Butler attended his first practice, mocked players, called out management and skipped post-practice stretching to do an interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols, who was summoned the night before.
It was bizarre, unexpected and utterly unprofessional.
It was also scripted, choreographed and undoubtedly made the Heat's day.
This weakened Minnesota's hand. This should accelerate the stalemated trade. It might even help the Heat lighten the load in the rumored deal of Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo and a No. 1 pick for Butler.
Minnesota thought enough of Butler disrupting its franchise that it canceled practice on Thursday. That's the only way it can't be the center ring in sports right now with clowns, calliopes and a troubled lion tamer in coach Tom Thibodeau.
That works for one day. But do you unload your troubled star in that day? Who knows what he has planned for Day 2?
Butler laughably positioned his tantrum under the guise of "passion" and "competitiveness" in his ESPN interview. Here's another one-word answer that's closer to the truth: Money. Butler wants to be paid with the maximum contract that went to teammate Karl Anthony Towns. He's angry Minnesota can't give him that deal now.
This, too, is right up the Heat's script for grabbing a whale. How do you think Riley landed Mourning? Or Dragic? Or Shaq? They all wanted new contracts. As Heat president, Riley even offered to fly to Los Angeles and be a marriage broker for Shaq, Kobe and the Lakers.
Instead, he traded for Shaq.
Butler isn't Shaq. He's not a national force. He changes the Heat season by showing up, though. What's more, he changes the future. He's a top-15 player on a team on a roster with maybe one top-50 player in Dragic. Plus, if you ascribe to the idea you need a star to get a star, as I do, then Butler puts the Heat back in the game of assembling a championship roster.
There's risk here. Butler is 29. He'd get the five-year, $190 million contract. The final two years on his contract, as he reaches his mid-30s, would cost a hold-your-jaw $84 million. There's no insurance for this type of franchise-building, only bold vision and finger crossing. You want above average, as the Heat are? Or do you try for great?
It all starts with Butler getting out of Minnesota. He's doing everything short of holding his breath until he turns blue to make that happen. Just like Mourning did once upon a time in Charlotte. Just as Hardaway and Shaq and other petulant and diva-esque NBA stars did before landing with the Heat.
They became franchise cornerstones here. The bought in once they were paid. They helped the Heat win big. Strange how that works, huh?
This isn't about "passion" as Butler says. It's about money. A lot of teams would trade for him. But Butler can get the most money if he gets to his destination team right now. Loudly and unprofessionally, he's made the Heat that destination team. You can be sure the Heat is just as loudly applauding his antics.