From the basketball court to the domino park, Miami Heat star player Jimmy Butler is winning at life.
"Shoot for the moon, land on the stars," Jimmy Butler (@jimmybutler) asserts as we’re discussing the impetus behind his newest venture, Big Face Coffee. He’s running me through the business model that was created in the NBA “Bubble” in Orlando, where he not only became the hero for the Miami Heat, breaking the record as only the second player in history for leading his team in points rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, but also became a part-time barista-turned-coffee connoisseur. This quip embodies everything Butler represents—if you dream as big and grand as possible, you will still find success no matter what the outcome.
When Butler decided to create his own pop-up coffee shop, brewing an assortment of coffee drinks from a Chemex coffee maker in his Orlando hotel room during last season’s NBA Bubble, he had two goals in mind: 1. bring people together, and 2. make money in the process. The latter, according to Butler, meant hustling his fellow players out of their allotted per-diem cash. If you know Butler and his sardonic humor mixed with his unwavering competitive spirit, you know he’s kidding, but not really.
“Really, I was trying to hustle everybody,” says Butler with a laugh. “When we first got to Orlando, I was making coffee out of my room and I’m thinking, ‘How can I get over on them and hit them over the head with my coffee price? I’m doing the math, I’m a mathematician, obviously, so I figured if everyone comes and gets four cups of coffee and I charge them 20 bucks a cup, I’m making $80. I’m thinking everyone is going to come in with $100 bills left in this case. That’s what a big face is: A big face is a $100 bill. I’m thinking everybody would come in with hundreds and say, ‘Hey, I don’t have any more 20s, give me change,’ and then when they paid for it, I’d say, ‘Oh sorry, I don’t have any change.’ But it really didn’t end up working out that way. Anyway, that’s where the name Big Face Coffee came from.”
Our entrepreneur’s master plan was brilliant in theory—but he eventually came to terms with the outcome. “You know, shoot for the moon, land on the stars. I was all up in the moon for the hundreds, but I landed on the stars with 20 bucks a cup.”
And thus, Big Face Coffee became Butler’s newest endeavor. Spurred by a love of coffee and a love of bonding with people over the morning fuel, his new passion project was born in the bubble and has now evolved into a real-life business.
“Big Face Coffee originated from the bubble, but now it’s something completely different. We’ll have coffee, merch and we’re building on it as we speak,” he shares. “Throughout my travels, I’ve always found common ground in morning coffee. I’ve learned the diverse cultures of the world from different people who have different passions. This coffee thing is real—we’ve learned so much about coffee and made so many friends through having great conversations over coffee. It’s a way for people to come together.”
Like everything Butler does, he makes sure he’s giving it 150 percent. Because deep-rooted in his core, he is a winner in all facets of life. Therefore, he is going to win in the coffee industry, and he’s going to do everything he can to learn the biz inside out to ensure that happens with Big Face Coffee. He runs me through his new lexicon of coffee terminology.
“It’s almost like wine. There’s so many ways to take or drink your coffee—this industry is always evolving. You walk into a coffee shop and there’s somebody in there who’ll drink it the way you’re drinking. You can do almond milk, take it black, on ice, as a latte, add a little bit of oat milk—I only add a little bit of almond milk to mine—and boom, the conversation starts. It’s healthy, too, in moderation. It’s not like wine where I can’t drink it daily while I’m playing. I think I’m starting to get a little bit boujee in my coffee-drinking ways,” Butler cracks.
“You’re a coffee connoisseur,” I note.
“You know what? I’d like to call myself that. Really, I’m just an avid coffee drinker that’s learning along the way, but let’s go with that,”laughs Butler.
Outside of his newfound passion for coffee, Butler’s hobbies and interests off the court are endless. Like I said, the guy’s intensity in on another level—and that’s the making of a champion. Whether it’s coffee, basketball, friends, family, tennis, soccer, padel—you know that you’re going to get his full, undivided attention. And he is going to beat you at whatever competition comes his way. You probably remember the famous photo of Butler facing off in a dominoes game in Miami’s Little Havana upon his arrival. That set the stage for his mutual love affair with the city and people of Miami.
“I adjusted to Miami life real quick. I love it here. I can’t wait to get back in Domino Park—wow, that’s my spot. I’m going to go over there and bust some heads some more,” he says. “They welcomed me with open arms when I went over there, and I felt so much love for this community here as a whole.”
Speaking of the community, Butler is also carving out time to give back to the children who need it most. While he’s a competitor and a jokester at heart, he takes philanthropy seriously and has a deep passion for children and helping them find their path to success. Over the COVID-19 shutdowns, since Butler couldn’t be present for in-person gatherings at the Boys & Girls Club of Miami, he donated new Microsoft computers and tablets to the children who didn’t have access to them—aiding in their new virtual learning process.
“I love kids and I think I know what it takes to make sure a kid is in a position to be as successful as possible,” he says. “COVID made it difficult for me to actually have a presence with the kids this year, but I think it hits home much more when you’re there with the kids and they can feel your energy and your positive vibes. Everything I do here for this city is to point people in the right direction and help as much as I can. I know that if I had certain people, outlets or opportunities in my childhood, my path could have been laid out a little more clearly. I am who I am because of my past, but I want children to be set up for success.”
As we’re discussing this, it’s as if his little girl Rylee has a sixth sense. She immediately interrupts him in her toy car calling for “Daddy” as she cruises through the house.
“Hold on one second, Baby, Daddy’s on the phone,” he soothes. “This little girl—she’s everything to me. Being a new father also helps me connect with children on a deeper level. I let her pretend she’s driving in one of these cars; I put her in the driver’s seat—there you go, parenting 101!”
While Butler certainly has a tough, no bullshit exterior when it comes to competition, talking about his young daughter is when you’ll glimpse another side of him.
“A softy,” he admits. “I’m a total softy when it comes to her—I hate to admit it, but it’s the truth. She’s everything to me. I’m like, ‘Whatever you want, Baby, just please don’t cry. I can’t handle it.’ Little girls do that to you,” he says.
It’s all the children who look up to him, and the fiercely loyal Heat fan base and citizens of Miami that reinforce Butler’s championship mission top of mind. And for him, there is no better place to make that happen than in Miami.
“Seriously, what is there not to love about Miami? Obviously, the fan base here is unreal, and the weather, you can’t beat it. I got a lot of love for this city, for the Miami Heat, for this organization. There are so many great reasons to be here,” he says.
Miami loves him back, tenfold. Upon revealing who the cover of our upcoming Ocean Drive Men’s Issue would be to a few select peers, there was a collective gasp. “Jimmy Buckets!” they enthused. But really, what is there not to love? Butler has transformed our fan base in one quick year, already reaching the NBA Finals in his debut season. He gives us a fun and competitive team to root for—a team that you can be proud of, as our fearless leader Mr. Buckets transmits his champion mentality. Discipline, hard work, and an unrivaled work ethic encompass Butler’s charisma on and off the court, and sets the tone for the entire organization to follow.
“Last year was incredible. We had a crazy year and we were in the ‘bubble’ together. You saw the camaraderie and fierce level of competitiveness that has carried over to this season. That’s what gave us our edge. Look, we know we’re here to get the job done. That is our mentality,” he asserts.
Throughout the NBA Finals series—even in defeat—the Miami Heat and Jimmy Butler proved that they were scrappy, they were fighters, and they were here to stay and to win big. Although last year wasn’t their time to take home the Championship title, Butler’s sights remain set on the trophy.
“My motivation comes from knowing that the only opinions that matter to me are the few around me every day. The people I work with—I don’t ever say I work for anyone or anyone works for me—the people I work together with keep me inspired,” he shares.
“I just want to be great. And I want to gain everybody’s respect in whatever field I’m working—whether it be a really great coffee-maker, a really great basketball player, tennis player, father—whatever it is. I try to lead by example as much as I can, and I think everyone around me knows I just want what’s best for you and I want what’s best for the team.”
He remains steadfast in his work ethic, his strategy and his drive to bring home that championship title and prove to the rest of the world that Miami truly is the best.
“I want to let Miami know that we, this organization, want to bring another championship here.
I miss the fans in the arena—I wish they could’ve been a part of making it to the finals, to just feel that electric energy in the building. It’ll take a lot more from myself, a lot more from everybody as a collective to make it, but when we get there, which we will, we’re gonna get it done this time,” he asserts.
Like I said, when Butler puts his mind to something, nothing can get in his way. For now, the sights of another Miami Heat Championship hanging in the rafters drives him each and every day. When that day finally comes, we will all know that Jimmy Butler helped fuel the Heat.
Photography by: Photographed by Darryl Omar
Styled by Khalilah Beavers
Grooming by Cesar Ferrette
Shot on location at Moxy Miami South Beach