Miami Heat All-Star small forward Jimmy Butler wears No. 22 with the Heat in honor of Taj Gibson. However, Butler had a different number in college at Marquette and at his previous NBA stops.

The Heat forward wore No. 33 in college, No. 21 with the Chicago Bulls and No. 23 with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“I played with one of the toughest individuals I’ve ever played with in my life — Taj Gibson. He taught me so much about how to be a pro. Sometimes people choose numbers because of someone that inspires them, and Taj is one of those people,” Jimmy Butler told Andre Fernandez of The Athletic.

“I wore 33 at Marquette. In high school, I wore No. 1 because of Tracy McGrady. My best friend, who’s a brother to me and (who) I moved in with, was No. 33. And as much as his family had done for me, I chose it because his mom’s favorite player was Larry Bird, and then it kind of stuck. It was all because of Larry Bird and Jordan Leslie.

“I chose 21 in Chicago because I was drafted at 21. I played with a guy named Joe Fulce in junior college that wore 21. I wouldn’t have gotten in the league without him.

“The number 23 (at Minnesota) was just because I was with Jordan Brand. I wasn’t comparing myself to Michael Jordan by any means. But I thought Jordan once wore 23 in Chicago and then when he moved on to another team. I was moving on from Chicago, so I thought, ‘I’m gonna take 23.’”

Butler appears to have found a home with the Heat after having rough stops in Chicago, Minnesota and Philadelphia.

Before the 2019-20 season was suspended due to COVID-19, Butler was putting up 20.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists. The All-Star swingman had the Heat in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 41-24.

Heat president Pat Riley has found his new franchise player in the post-Dwyane Wade era. Miami is hoping Butler can lead the franchise back to the promised land one day.