It’s not every pregame interview that I get Brett Brown to crack a smile, but when you can follow up with a question about his "defensive headband brothers," it makes it easy.
There’s a reason talking about Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler wearing matching headbands makes the Sixers' head coach light up a little bit.
“Because I think the smallest and the most subtle, at times, of things can be a connection," Brown said, "and when I saw those two wearing them, there’s a spirit, a camaraderie, a connection.”
“When you wear a headband, you've got to do something extra special,” Butler said.
Butler claims wearing the headbands is Simmons’ call. Simmons claims that Butler said he would wear the headband if Simmons’ did. While who to credit or blame is still unclear, what we do know, is that it’s becoming quite the exclusive club.
“You've got to email me or Ben between 10:05 a.m. and 10:07 a.m.,” Butler said of other Sixers teammates wearing headbands. “We may answer, we may not answer, and if we don't answer, that means hell no.”
The headband club has since extended into making bets with each other before games (i.e. who will have more steals), something Butler has said he now plans to do throughout the year.
“I think whenever we’re leading the charge on the defensive end," Butler said, "everybody’s going to follow up, so if we make it a little extra competitive, we’re going to set the tone right.”
Butler owed Simmons “a little something” after Simmons finished with two steals against Memphis.
Brown approves. When he first noticed the headbands, he said he did a "coach pivot," and immediately connected the headbands with defense. After all, Brown had asked Butler to help grow Simmons defensively, maybe this was the first sign.
And, as far as the bets go, Brown loves it.
“That’s great,” Brown said laughing. “You know, I use the word gamify, anything you can turn something into a competitive environment. That’s Jimmy Butler’s spirit, you don’t coach that.”
The only problem is that not everyone can join the club. Take JJ Redick, for example, who seemed very confused when he was asked about the whole headband club/betting thing.
“It's a weird bet," Redick said. "Why the headbands? How do the headbands go with the bet?”
Redick waited for a legitimate answer from the media, but there was none to give.
“I don't know why you have to wear the headbands to make a bet," Redick said, "to make steals and blocks, I don't know. It's all a little far-fetched for me.”
It’s a good thing Redick wasn’t set on being part of the club.
“No, JJ you cannot wear a headband,” Butler said before referring anyone else over to him and Simmons’ email.
Brown couldn’t help but chuckle when being told of the new rules, or the clubs exclusivity.
“If this exclusive group or club has got that type of parameters and lawyers or documents or legal people might have to come into all of this," Brown said, "then so be it. He’s the captain of the headband club.”
But wait, who’s the actual captain of the club. Ben or Jimmy?
That’s still up for debate.
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