Miami Heat star remembers ice cream that made him fall in love with NYC: ‘It doesn’t mean I’m coming to the Knicks’

Although the Miami Heat faced a bittersweet end to their playoff run in 2022, one of the team’s standout players has had a huge hit thanks to his newfound collaboration off the field.

Jimmy Butler recently teamed up with the folks at Van Leeuwen to bring Big Face coffee to the masses in ice cream form, just in time for summer — and “Good Morning America” ​​got an early taste of frozen dessert.

“We’ve teamed up on an Avocado ice cream flavor with Big Face Coffee – it’s a cold brew ice cream surrounded by milk-flavored ice cream,” Van Leeuwen co-founder Ben Van Leeuwen told GMA.

He added that the ice cream brand only collaborates with people who are “obsessed with food and quality”.

“Jimmy and I met in November and within minutes I said, ‘Wow, this guy is serious about coffee. Then I tasted the coffee and said they had really good products,” which he eventually knew would work well with their desserts, Van Leeuwen said.

Pint of the new Big Face Affogato Van Leeuwen Ice Cream.

Van Leeuwen, Big Face Brands

When we sat and talked [in November]It made me fall in love with New York,” Butler said separately, explaining with a laugh, “That doesn’t mean I’m coming to the Knicks. “

“Van Leeuwen as a whole is all about giving people the best products and I want to follow suit and be like that, so that made sense to me,” he added.

Butler remembered when he first met Van Leeuwen at a scoop shop in Brooklyn. “He took about 30 different flavors and put them around the table – I didn’t even get a chance to order them – I was such very good flavors and I have a game in two hours,” he said.

After that initial tasting, Butler said his favorite flavor was “honeycomb – that’s it.”

The coffee aficionado-turned-business owner first put his passion for drinks together with a self-powered quirky coffee cart to serve other players inside the Orlando NBA bubble during the 2020 season. Last fall, Butler officially began selling beans under the Big Face Coffee brand.

“I think we started something real with the bubble,” Butler said of his now thriving coffee business.

Photo: Ben van Leeuwen and Jimmy Butler at Scoop Shop in Tribeca.

Ben Van Leeuwen and Jimmy Butler at the Scoop Shop in Tribeca.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

Understandably, Butler didn’t want to talk much about basketball after his team lost to the Celtics in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals, but the six-time NBA star said he was very pleased with what he and Van Leeuwen had done. The fans are out of season.

They used heirloom Ethiopian coffee to make the ice cream, which the 32-year-old described as “very sweet, fruit-forward, and very smooth – not tough”.

It’s hard to give a really good ice cream to coffee connoisseurs—we taste one and think ‘this is the best’—but this end product is, ‘They really did it—we want 23 bites in a pint and it’s gone, that’s good,’ Butler said with a smile.

Speaking of the final product, Van Leeuwen said, which only took five or six iterations to master before making it onto Scoop’s store listings.

He added, “This was kind of a spin-off, but Big Face’s creativity and branding are some of the coolest I’ve ever seen and unique – so the part of the collaboration that sees this little logo is really exciting.”

The new Big Face Coffee Affogato flavor is available through September 15 at all Van Leeuwen Scoop stores in New York, New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania and Texas, in both scoops and pints. It’s also the first time ever that a seasonal flavor has been available for purchase online nationwide.

“I have been so fortunate to meet so many great people along the way to help me figure out ways to be better,” Butler said. “I’m so excited that everyone can try it out.”

While there isn’t yet a vegan version of the limited-time flavor, Butler said they “understand that’s what people are asking for—and like I said, we want to please everyone we can, who knows.”

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