NBA Star Jimmy Butler Debuts Li-Ning Shoes Inspired by His Love of Tennis and the Australian Open

NBA star Jimmy Butler is a man of many interests. He is a fan of country music and good coffee, and because of his new Li-Ning shoes, fans of the Miami Heat forward are learning more about his love of tennis.

When the Heat faced the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, Butler laced up his Li-Ning JB 2 signature shoe in the “Melbourne Blue” colorway. The shoes served as a nod to both his love of tennis and the Australian Open, one of four Grand Slam tennis events that is currently underway at Melbourne Park. The look featured uppers with a pale blue hue with hits of white, which sat atop white midsoles and outsoles.

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Jimmy Butler, tennis, Li-Ning JB 2 Melbourne Blue
A look at Jimmy Butler’s tennis-inspired Li-Ning JB 2 “Melbourne Blue.”Courtesy of Edwin Jean

To execute the tennis theme, the shoe’s right tongue features an image of a tennis racquet and tennis balls. The right tongue of the shoe includes Butler’s “JB” logo, which also appears on both of the heels.

Jimmy Butler, tennis, Li-Ning JB 2 Melbourne Blue
Jimmy Butler in his tennis-inspired Li-Ning JB 2 “Melbourne Blue.”Courtesy of Edwin Jean

In terms of tech, the Li-Ning JB2 is built with Li-Ning Boom durable and responsive midsoles, which are paired with a carbon plate, designed to offer both cushioning and torsion. Also underfoot are the brand’s proprietary outsole tech, dubbed Li-Ning GCU (ground control unit), which was added for endurance and slip resistance. As for the uppers, they feature TPU at the heel for added stability and the brand’s Boom Fiber.

Although several colorways of the Li-Ning JB2 can be shopped online, the “Melbourne Blue” iteration of the shoe is a player exclusive.

Butler — a former Jordan Brand athlete — signed with Li-Ning in late-2020. Off the court, the hooper often wears shoes from Blu Scarpa.

About the Author

Peter Verry is the Senior News and Features Editor for Athletic and Outdoor at Footwear News. He oversees coverage of the two fast-paced and ultracompetitive markets, which includes conducting in-depth interviews with industry leaders and writing stories on sneakers and outdoor shoes. He is a lifelong sneaker addict (and shares his newest purchases via @peterverry on Instagram) and spends most of his free time on a trail. He holds an M.A. in journalism from Hofstra University and can be reached at

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