NBA-Heat forward Butler excited about Messi's impact in Miami

FILE PHOTO: Jun 7, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; A general view of the video board with a welcome message for soccer player Lionel Messi to Inter Miami CF during game three of the 2023 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets at Kaseya Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

(Reuters) - Six-times NBA All Star Jimmy Butler said he is excited about Lionel Messi's move to Inter Miami and that the Argentine World Cup winner will do a lot of good for U.S. soccer.

Messi, 35, announced on Wednesday he plans to take his talent to South Beach after his contract with French champions Paris St Germain expires at the end of this month.

Butler, who has led the Heat to their second NBA Finals in four years, said his arrival will be a real boost for Miami.

"He's one of the greatest players to play that beautiful game," Butler told reporters on Thursday. "I'm so excited for the city of Miami, to be able to have a player of that calibre here.

"Now that he is here, I think all the football/soccer fans from all over the world are going to come here and get an opportunity to watch him compete. I'm glad he is here."

Butler, 33, said he has met Messi but does not know him well.

"Will I reach out? Probably not," Butler said. "I know he has probably got a ton of stuff going on anyway ... I know we will link whenever he is here."

Heat are trailing Denver Nuggets 2-1 in the Finals ahead of Game 4 in Miami on Friday.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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