Jimmy Butler’s “Big Face Coffee” might have started as a bit of a joke inside the NBA’s pandemic bubble, but that feels a million years ago now. What began with a french press and fleecing stars with overpriced coffee has now transformed into a burgeoning empire, complete with specially sourced beans, merchandise, and now its own ice cream.
This week Van Leeuwen Ice Cream announced it was collaborating with Big Face Coffee on a limited edition affogato flavor, a mix of vanilla ice cream with single-origin Ethiopian beans sourced by Big Face. I had the opportunity to sit down with Jimmy Butler and learn how coffee has become such a big part of his life, and how it’s his dream to get booed out of an arena while competing in a barista competition.
The motivation for bringing good coffee to the market is twofold for Butler, “I feel like I’m a perfectionist and I want to be the best in everything,” he says, “coffee’s no different.” But there’s also a larger, more sentimental part to his mission. For a brand that began under cloistered, pandemic-forced circumstances, he sees coffee as a way to heal in a world post-isolation. “More than anything it’s about bringing people together. Forcing them to sit down a have a great cup of coffee, or a scoop of ice cream — find what they have in common, and show as much love as they can.”
Part of making this process a success is accepting he’s not an expert. Butler loves coffee, and it’s a major passion of his life — but he admits he still has so much learning to do. “I have a phenomenal team that point me in every direction,” he says when asked about how single-origin Ethiopian beans were picked for the ice cream flavor. “I don’t know as much as I think that I know,” says Butler, but while he’s staying humble, the process has transformed him into a coffee expert in his own right. There’s obvious passion while he’s telling me about the notes of peach, jasmine, and white grape he tastes in the beans selected — and how he thought it would work with vanilla ice cream.
One of the most remarkable things is that despite running a premium coffee brand, Butler is a-okay if you just drink gas station trash. He’s not going to judge you. “I don’t think that there’s a bad cup of coffee, I don’t. As long as you’re drinking coffee, as long as you’re enjoying it — that’s the way to go.” That said, he also wants to introduce people into different styles of coffee, ways to prepare it, and he’s a perfectionist when it comes to that too.
Butler tells me he’ll spend hours making lattes, trying to perfect his pour over technique, not dissimilar to a player spending hours in the gym working on their shot. He also acknowledges that he messes up the coffee he makes every day, at least in his view, because his pour over game isn’t consistent yet. “I’m not gonna lie to you,” Butler quips, “I’m not very consistent at it. I haven’t had two of the same cups of coffee when I’m making it, but it’s trial and error.” That passion has already converted his teammates.
Butler tells me that his involvement in the coffee world has turned all of the Miami Heat players into serious coffee drinkers now — but part of that is his role as a leader on the team. Butler carves out time for each member of the Heat, whether it’s in the morning, afternoon, or between practices, inviting them to sit down and have coffee with him (made by Butler, naturally) to talk, to bond, and discuss their lives. “We’ll talk about what we have coming when it comes to the game, how everyone is feeling, what matters to them, how their bodies are feeling.”
That’s all very nice, but make no mistake: Coffee provides Butler with new opportunities too. “It really got me a new way to talk trash to people, people who really know how to do this latte art.” Butler loves stepping up to a barista and challenging them to a coffee showdown. “I talk like I know what I’m doing, and I get humbled every single time,” he laughs, “but I love it. I get to go back to the drawing board and try to do what they just did. It gives me something to strive for.” Butler’s morning cup of coffee now isn’t just a way to start the day, it’s “working on his craft” as he puts it, and he loves being able to make coffee for all of him family, taking orders like a barista at home, and being able to make anything people want off the top of his head. It’s a way to practice, but also show love — and Butler says he loves serving people their favorite cup of coffee.
As for Butler himself, it’s an easy answer when I ask what his go-to cup is. “Flat white, without a doubt, oat milk — sign me up. Every single time. For the rest of my life. Any time or the day, I’ll drink it before bed, I’ll drink 10 back-to-back.” I’m taken aback by his answer. As an Australian I’m used to the flat white (one shot espresso, two shots milk) being a go-to style, but I tell Butler I’m surprised by his choice because it’s not common in the United States. “EXACTLY!” he joyously yells, “you see what I did? A lot of people in America don’t know about that yet.” He tells me he’s excited to go to Australia, not just for the sights, but because he’s heard that any coffee shop can make him a flat white without asking him what it is. This summer he’s traveling with his family to New Zealand and Australia, and he’s already mapped out the coffee shops he wants to hit while there, or places he’s heard about.
One thing is certain: Butler’s love of coffee is second only to basketball when it comes to his professional life. At 32 he’s still got plenty left in the tank when it comes to the NBA, but I ask him if when his playing days are done if we’ll ever see him throwing on an apron and taking his competitiveness to the world of barista contests.
“I wanna do it now!” Butler says enthusiastically, “I should probably copyright this … ‘Big Face Barista Brawl’ no fighting, no fighting — just straight latte art. No time to practice, you go now. I want to get in it because I just wanna get booed off the stage. I feel like I need that in my life. Please, boo me, because it’s gonna be so bad.”
Lilly King Finishes 7th in 50m Breaststroke at 2022 World Swimming Championships
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Team USA’s Lilly King failed to medal in the 50-meter women’s breaststroke event at the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Saturday.
Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte took gold with a time of 29.70 seconds, while King finished in 30.40 seconds, settling for seventh place.
Here is a full rundown of the finishing order from Saturday’s final with Meilutyte, Italy’s Benedetta Pilato and South Africa’s Lara van Niekerk occupying the top three spots on the podium:
1. Ruta Meilutyte: 29.70
2. Benedetta Pilato: 29.80
3. Lara van Niekerk: 29.90
4. Qianting Tang: 30.21
5. Anna Elendt: 30.22
6. Eneli Jefimova: 30.25
7. Lilly King: 30.40
8. Jhennifer Conceicao: 30.45
The 50-meter breaststroke marked the second time in four races at the 2022 world championships that King finished off the podium, as she previously finished fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke.
King isn’t leaving Budapest empty-handed, however, as she won gold in both the 200-meter breaststroke and 4×100-meter women’s medley relay events.
This article will be updated soon to provide more information and analysis.
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Deandre Ayton Rumors: Pistons May Back Off Pursuit of Suns C After Jalen Duren Trade
Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images
The Detroit Pistons’ rumored push for impending restricted free agent Deandre Ayton may be “less likely” following the team’s successful draft night.
James L. Edwards III of The Athletic provided word on the situation Friday, a day after the Pistons had selected Purdue guard Jaden Ivey and traded for Memphis center Jalen Duren during the NBA draft:
“However, while all signs have pointed to Detroit making a serious run at Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton over the last few days, that appears less likely after the Pistons walked away with two of the players highest on the organization’s big board. Per sources, Detroit is eager to continue to build back toward playoff contention with the aforementioned young core, and the Pistons are expected to use the majority of their remaining cap space to add multiple veteran pieces rather than just one big swing this offseason, per sources.”
Ayton, 23, has spent four seasons with the Phoenix Suns, who selected the ex-Arizona center No. 1 overall in the 2018 draft. He averaged 17.2 points on 63.4 percent shooting and 10.2 rebounds last year.
Ayton has played an instrumental part in the Suns’ turnaround over the last few years from the bottom of the league to a title contender. Phoenix won the Western Conference in 2021 and posted the league’s best record in 2022 before falling in the second round of the playoffs.
At his best, Ayton is an uber-efficient offensive player and rebounder.
Rumors of the Pistons’ interest in Ayton seemed to fit, especially after their trade of Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers created salary-cap space. Edwards provided more information Wednesday:
“This deal opens up Ay-Ton of cap space for the Pistons. (See what I did there?) Prior to the trade, Detroit entered the season with roughly $30 million in cap space at its disposal, which was among the league leaders. After the trade, the Pistons have roughly $43 million at their disposal. Per sources, Detroit is heavily expected to pursue Phoenix Suns big man and 2018 No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton in the open market. The Pistons may also look to the trade block to make use of that cap space if Ayton stays put in Phoenix or lands elsewhere.”
Edwards and John Hollinger reported in early June that Ayton had “more likely than not” played his last game with the Suns.
However, it now appears that Detroit may not be a landing spot for Ayton after it acquired Duren from the New York Knicks in a draft-day trade. Duren could be the long-term answer for the Pistons at center, and Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer wrote that the ex-Memphis star couldn’t have landed in a better spot with the new backcourt of Ivey and Cade Cunningham.
Ayton shouldn’t have a shortage of suitors, especially given his age and production, but Detroit may not be the place for him after all.
Rafael Nadal Says Treatment on Foot Injury Has Been ‘Positive’ Ahead of Wimbledon
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Rafael Nadal told reporters in the lead-up to Wimbledon that treatment on a chronic foot injury has been effective of late (h/t ESPN’s Tom Hamilton).
“The feeling and overall feelings are positive … because I am in a positive way in terms of pain, and that’s the main thing,”
Nadal, 36, has won a men’s record 22 Grand Slam singles titles. He’s won the first two majors this year in the Australian Open and French Open.
He’s excelled this year despite suffering from Mueller-Weiss syndrome, a degenerative disease that causes foot pain, which forced him off the ATP Tour for five months in 2021.
Days have been better for Nadal of late as he manages the injury, although he said he can’t be “super happy” right now with it being unknown how the ailment may affect him down the road.
“Well, is obvious that if I am here, it’s because things are going better. If not, I would not be here. So quite happy about the things, how evolved. I can’t be super happy because I don’t know what can happen.
“First of all, I can walk normal most of the days, almost every single day. That’s for me the main issue. When I wake up, I don’t have this pain that I was having for the last year and a half, so quite happy about that. And second thing, practicing. I have been in overall better, honestly, no? Since the last two weeks, I didn’t have not one day of these terrible days that I can’t move at all. Of course, days better; days a little bit worse.”
Nadal previously revealed that he needed pain-killing injections in his foot just to play in the French Open.
Ultimately, the injury is something Nadal will have to deal with for the foreseeable future. At this point, it’s a matter of whether the treatment can enable him to play tennis.
“I can’t tell you if I going to be in that positive moment for one week, for two days, or for three months,” Nadal said. “Of course, the treatment that I did, didn’t fix my injury. Not improving my injury at all but can take out a little bit the pain. That’s the main goal.”
Nadal is halfway to a calendar-year Grand Slam right now. He’d be the first professional tennis player to do so since Steffi Graf accomplished the feat in 1988.
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