When Sports Illustrated caught up with Jimmy Butler in the wake of his first appearance in the NBA Finals in 2020, his coffee obsession was still more of a Bubble quirk than legitimate business. Since then, Butler has actually started selling his own beans (and merch) under his Big Face Coffee label. What started as a way to price gouge a captive (and wealthy) clientele has turned into one of Butler’s many off-court interests. In mid-March, the six-time All-Star even set up a Big Face pop-up at the Miami Open, with Butler himself getting behind the counter and whipping up lattes for VIPs and tournament entrants. (The prices were a little more affordable this time, with drinks starting at around eight bucks, and a full flight for $20.) Ahead of the tournament, Butler spoke to SI about the status of his obsessions.
“I’ve probably been a fan of tennis for about three years now,” Butler, who’s led the Heat to first place in the East amid some ups and downs, tells SI about why he chose the Miami Open for his latest coffee endeavor. “I’m just in my little own joyful world right now that I get to be around tennis and coffee in one setting.”
(Butler’s tennis fandom may not rival his coffee one yet, though he does play a little bit during the offseason. Says Butler: “It’s another way to condition, run back and forth, work on your ankle stability—which I need because I tend to roll this right ankle way too much. And it’s another way to compete, something else I can beat people on my team at. It’s another way for me to rub it in that I’m better than you.”)
Butler is certainly around coffee quite often. He outlined his coffee routine for SI, and it becomes clear quite quickly how he has so much energy for all those workout videos you see on social media.
On the road, Butler has breakfast and coffee with his physical performance coach, then immediately follows that up with more coffee at a local coffee shop. Then he goes back to his room and makes another cup using his Big Face travel kit. After lunch and a team meeting, it’s time for another cup. Then he likes to eat one more meal before another pregame cup. (We’re up to five coffees now for those losing count.)
As for how he finds which shops to hit when he’s traveling, Butler says he likes to check out the comments on the Big Face Instagram page to see what people are suggesting. He also has friends in the coffee business who he tries to support when possible.
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At home, Butler says it’s a completely different story. When he wakes up he makes coffee for whoever else in the household is awake (except his two-year-old daughter. Says Butler: “But we’re finding a way to bring coffee to kids as well.) He then goes on to drink what he terms as “entirely too much coffee” throughout the day because of how much he enjoys it, picking coffee over other beverages when he sits down to play dominoes or cards. Butler is also embroiled in a tense battle with his friends over who can create the best latte art, a skill Jimmy has been practicing for years. (“We all suck at it. But then again, I’m the best at sucking at it, so I win in that category.)
Preference wise, Butler is amenable to all coffee types—drips, pour overs, lattes, etc. “It all depends on who is making it,” he says, adding that when he tries a new spot he likes the barista to make their specialty. “There’s no coffee that I or everybody around me won’t drink.” He also admits to being a little dependent on caffeine, saying he doesn’t remember the last day he didn’t partake.
“Could I do it? Yes. Do I want to do it? No. Do I want to try to do it? No. Do I think about doing it? No. Could I do it? Yes. But I’m not.”
Also, with the amount of coffee he’s consuming—even just saying the word coffee as often as Butler does—it may seem like it’s difficult for him to get a good night’s rest. Butler claims it’s quite the opposite.
“It’s actually very easy for me to go to sleep. But my trainer says it best, coffee doesn’t actually wake you up. Don’t quote me on this, because I don’t want to butcher his words, but it’s some wordplay that makes a lot of sense. So I’ll drink 10 cups before bed and start snoring five minutes later. I promise you, I can always go to sleep.”
Finally, Butler is frequently mentioning his favorite part about coffee is not necessarily the drink itself; instead it’s the conversations shared over a cup. He still has some Heat members he needs to sip with (Pat Riley included), but when asked who his dream coffee shop hang is, Butler was unsurprisingly all over the board.
“Man, way to put me on the spot. I got three people, right? I would definitely pick Neymar, I’m a huge fan. I would pick Barack Obama. I want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with Obama. And then lastly, I would pick [long pause] Emma Raducanu. She’s a young baller, She’s a monster. If I could share a cup with those three, I think I’d be having a great time.”
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