Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Philadelphia 76ers star Jimmy Butler took issue with Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari's previous comments on whether he bullied Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns.
Butler played Minnesota for the first time Tuesday since demanding a trade last November. The 76ers demolished the Timberwolves 149-107 with Butler scoring 19 points against his former team.
Philadelphia's blowout win created another wave of discussion on Butler's rocky tenure with the Timberwolves, which began with Calipari's jab that the guard mistreated his former college player, Towns.
"I bet that environment was so uncomfortable for him," Calipari told ESPN last November after Butler's trade. "First of all, [Towns] and Jimmy are totally different people -- how they were brought up, their likes and dislikes, how they approach competition. You have one guy on this side and one guy on the other side.
"There was a dogfight, and Karl's not one to get into that. So, he stepped back."
Team members disclosed that Butler's frustration, including an altercation in a practice last year, led to Towns' diminished presence in the locker room.
"Things happen. There are power struggles all the time in [the NBA]," Calipari added. "If a guy can bully you, he will bully you. And that's what Jimmy did to Karl. C'mon, that's the league."
Reporters informed Butler about the Kentucky head coach's comments after Tuesday's game. The former Marquette guard defended his actions while taking a subtle shot at the Wildcats basketball program.
"I don't think bully is a good word. I tell it how it is," Butler explained. "Whenever I was in college, I had [Marquette head coach] Buzz Williams to tell me how it was. I didn't have a bunch of McDonald's All-Americans like [Calipari] has. So, he can look at it a different way."
Butler even went a step further and mentioned a confrontation would happen if the two met.
"He can call me a bully, but when [Calipari] sees me, I'm gonna confront him about it," Butler added. "If I'm a bully, I'm gonna bully him, too. I'll tell him how I feel, just like I'd tell anyone else.
"I don't care if he's some big head coach. I'm not bullying nobody. I'm just keeping it real. Some of these guys aren't used to it. When you have as much talent as [Karl] has had throughout his life, guys don't keep it real with him. I do."
Towns, despite the tension between the two players, wished Butler the best when asked about the situation after the game.
"I was doing whatever the team asked me to do before he left, and after he left," Towns said. "That's life, man."