MIAMI -- Lionel Messi saying he will soon play for Inter Miami of Major League Soccer is exciting news for Miami Heat players, already thrilling Florida sports fans in the NBA Finals.
Argentine superstar Messi revealed on Wednesday he will join the club part-owned by England icon David Beckham, and had Heat playmaker Jimmy Butler looking forward to seeing him in action.
"He's one of the greatest players to play that beautiful game. I'm so excited for the city of Miami to be able to have a player of that caliber here," Butler said Thursday.
"Now that he's 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's here."
Butler said he has met Messi but doesn't know him well.
"Will I reach out? Probably not," Butler said. "I know he has probably got a ton of stuff going on anyway. He is coming over here to do something special for this city. I'm happy that he is here, though. I really am. I know we will link whenever he is here."
Miami's Lowry said he was wearing a Messi jersey during last year's World Cup, in which Messi sparked his homeland to the title.
"Man, he's getting a lot of money," Lowry said with a laugh. "It's going to be awesome... I'm a Messi fan.
"MLS is a great league. I think they understand how to put the product out there. Bringing one of the world's greatest football players out there, bringing him here, is going to be awesome.
"He's going to bring a different fan base. He's going to get some more revenue going. It's going to be a great atmosphere when they get that stadium built. The fans are going to enjoy it. I think it's great for soccer in America, especially down here in Miami."
Heat teammate Gabe Vincent said it was a smart move by Messi even if he turned down more money from a Saudi Arabian club.
"I think it was a great move on his part. From what I saw about the deal, it looks like it was a no-brainer decision to make," Vincent said.
Heat swingman Max Strus, however, wasn't overwhelmed by the news.
"To be honest, I don't really watch it that much. I don't know a lot about soccer," Strus said. "I know who Messi is. Pretty cool to have him in our city. Can't wait to meet him, if he comes to a game."
© Agence France-Presse