28 September 2020 00:32

Jimmy Butler is facing competition in the NBA bubble coffee game.


Heat news: Jimmy Butler reacts to Big Face Coffee's competition

Cristiano Ronaldo has predicted a "bright future" for Juventus after his double salvaged a 2-2 draw for the Serie A champions against Roma on Sunday. Juve's chances of clawing their way back into the game suffered a blow when Adrien Rabiot was dismissed for a second bookable offence after 62 minutes, but Ronaldo secured a point with a towering header seven minutes later. Speaking prior to the Roma match, the 27-year-old spoke of his happiness to be back in Turin and hoped he could help the club win the Champions League. Goran Dragic stops at Jimmy Butler's Big Face Coffee late at night, but it is closed.--In the NBA bubble, a quality cup of coffee is hard to come by. The sweets shop in the El Centro lobby on the way to the practice facility--which offered bitter dark roast--closed soon after players arrived in early July because it wasn't attracting enough customers.

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Later that month, the bar in the lobby of the Gran Destino Tower--which made one of the tastier cups of coffee on campus--closed for the same reason. When Jimmy Butler checked into his hotel, he wasn't interested in the coffee made with prepackaged pods that came with the room. So, Butler ordered more equipment and scribbled "Big Face Coffee"--a nod to an inside joke--in blue marker on a whiteboard and hung it outside his room. When teammate Meyers Leonard posted a photo of Butler's homemade sign on Twitter, Big Face Coffee went viral. What started as a simple caffeine fix for Butler has morphed into a running joke within the Heat organization--with Butler offering free coffee to teammates who have a good game--and a source of entertainment that breaks up the monotony of trips from the hotel to the arena and back.

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"He overprices coffee," fellow Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo said. "I make them with love," Butler said with a smile. But little did Butler know when he started his small business that a coffee competition would soon be brewing in the bubble. Jimmy Butler has had coffee cups emblazoned with his logo since his days with the Bulls. It was mid-August and Big Face Coffee had been operating for about a week when Brandon Gilliam, the Heat's assistant athletic trainer of six years, identified a need for a lower-priced option.

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"My poor video coordinator, he can't afford that," Gilliam said of Butler's coffee, trying his best to suppress a grin. So without telling Butler, Gilliam started his own joint--Little Face Coffee--out of his hotel room. Unlike Butler's establishment, Gilliam offers only black coffee that he makes with a pour-over apparatus and a French press he had brought to the bubble for himself. Gilliam even came up with his own tagline: "The Best Little Coffee Shop in the Bubble. "Ain't no one going over there to Little Face Coffee," he teased.

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Butler's joke isn't quite accurate--the players tend to favor Butler's coffee, but Gilliam said he has a reliable customer base of coaches and staff. He even allows patrons to make their own coffee when he is not "on-duty," leaving his door propped open--making it an all-hours establishment. They know coffee." Another by "Erik S." reads: "I support small business. Little Face Coffee is much better than the big chains. "I walked by it one day and thought, 'I didn't say that,'" Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Butler has been wearing Big Face Coffee merchandise in the bubble. Big Face Coffee is served in charcoal-gray or sleek-eggshell to-go cups with Butler's logo on them--he has had self-branded cups since he played for the Chicago Bulls, according to his agent, Bernie Lee. Little Face still comes in the standard, white cups that housekeeping replenishes. But as the lore of the hotel-room coffee shops grew, the setups of both Big Face and Little Face have become more extravagant. When the story grew beyond the bubble, various coffee traders from around the country began to send Butler bags of beans. Lee said that one vendor, which he declined to name, customized a Butler blend. It might be a post-bubble business opportunity: According to Lee, the company has a potential partnership that would distribute upward of 1 million bags of Butler's coffee across the country. Butler also told ESPN's Rachel Nichols he might want to open a coffee shop after retiring from the NBA. "I didn't understand the coffee hustle before," Lee said. Butler's representatives submitted paperwork for trademarks related to the name and logos for Big Face Coffee. Lee said that when Butler's paperwork was filed, three other people had already attempted to file some claims for the rights to "Big Face Coffee." Gilliam said he has explored a trademark for "Little Face Coffee," but not because he would want to open a coffee shop after leaving the bubble. "I just don't want some random person doing [Little Face Coffee] just to compete with him," Gilliam said of Butler. For now, though, the coffee-shop rivalry provides comedic relief for the team. Dragic wants to be the brand manager for both coffee businesses. Dragic--who added he is getting a "lifetime sponsorship" with Big Face Coffee--isn't the only one who wants to be more involved in the brand. "How about we go 25-25-50?" Adebayo asked, pointing at himself, Dragic and Butler, respectively. Butler has taken to walking into games with "Big Face Coffee Owner" T-shirts and hats. After one recent game, he was talking about Big Face Coffee's since-disabled Yelp page when a security guard attempted to direct him to the bus. "Hold up," Butler told the security guard. "This is important, I'm doing a marketing campaign for Big Face Coffee." "You should start making doughnuts," Adebayo said to Butler after a recent game. Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler may have thought he had a monopoly on freshly brewed coffee in the bubble. Earlier in the bubble, Butler opened Big Face Coffee in his hotel room, cornering the market in response to the limited coffee options available to the players. He brought his own French press, pour-over and grinder to Orlando, and his teammates began offering a peek into Jimmy Butler's small business. Butler has been showing up to playoff games in Big Face merch. So apparently Jimmy Butler wasn't kidding about the up-charge for the use of his French Press at Disney. He charges $20 for a cup, and $50 for two smalls, according to Bam Adebayo, and it's cash only. "You can't get coffee nowhere here," Butler told ESPN. Butler also whips up a vanilla latte "with love," he told ESPN's Malik Andrews. Without telling Butler, Gilliam opened a rival coffeeshop, Little Face Coffee, from his hotel room, using his own French press. "The Best Little Coffee Shop in the Bubble. "I tell [Butler], 'You're the high frills, you make mochaccinos and frappe-lattes,'" Gilliam said. Jimmy Butler doesn't seem too threatened by the competition, though. "Ain't no one going over there to Little Face Coffee," he cracked. "It's all about Big Face." While Butler and Gilliam may be competing in the coffee game, it's not affecting their working relationship. "It just goes to show how close we are as a team, as a staff, that we have so much fun with all of it," Butler said. "We got a little competition, but it's all fun and games. Jimmy Butler and the Heat will have another chance to advance to the NBA Finals on Sunday. Jimmy Butler is facing competition in the NBA bubble coffee game. The Miami Heat star has been operating a successful coffee shop out of his hotel room called Big Face Coffee, where drinks are priced at $20 regardless of the size. However, there's now a cheaper option available courtesy of Heat assistant athletic trainer Brandon Gilliam. Gilliam opened his own shop - Little Face Coffee - inside his hotel room, complete with a tagline: "The Best Little Coffee Shop in the Bubble. He only serves black coffee and charges $5 per cup, with the first one free. "I tell (Butler), 'You're the high frills, you make mochaccinos and frappe-lattes,'" Gilliam said. The competition hasn't affected Gilliam and Butler's relationship, though. "It just goes to show how close we are as a team, as a staff, that we have so much fun with all of it," Butler said. "We got a little competition, but it's all fun and games. Now, I make way more money than he does over at Little Face Coffee, you should know that. Speaking ahead of his team's match against West Ham on Sunday, Nuno told reporters: "It's very disruptive for preparation and planning. We'll be tested next on Monday and we have the game at Everton (in the League Cup) on Wednesday...

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