LOS ANGELES – Actor Mark Wahlberg was scheduled to be sitting courtside at the Staples Center, sporting a pair of exclusive Jimmy Butler sneakers Thursday night.
That’s what friends are for.
But while Butler said he’ll appreciate the gesture, it will mean even more that Wahlberg and Co. will be in attendance on the same night that Butler will likely be named an All-Star for the second time.
“Oh absolutely,’’ coach Fred Hoiberg said, when asked if Butler deserved to be a reserve on the Eastern Conference team. “No doubt about it. He’s been one of the most consistent performers all year. He plays a ton of minutes. He plays both ways.’’
The bigger question will be what happens to Pau Gasol when the reserves are announced this evening?
Gasol just missed out on being a starter in the fan vote, and he not only campaigned for a spot after the morning shootaround, but campaigned hard.
“It was too bad that I fell short of the starting lineup,’’ Gasol said. “The way that it is now, it’s all point guards, shooting guards and small forwards in the starting lineups. It’s kind of unfair for the bigger guys who work hard and play well to not have the same type of shot. It is a game where people want to see those flashy guys. Let’s see if the coaches pay justice. Either way, I’m proud of how I’m performing this year at a very high level, amongst the best in the league regardless of whether I’m in the game or not.’’