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

Although the Miami Heat had a bittersweet end to their 2022 playoff run, one of the team’s star players has hit a slam dunk with his new off-court collaboration.

Jimmy Butler recently teamed up with the folks at Van Leeuwen to bring his Big Face Coffee to the masses in ice cream form, just in time for summer – and “Good Morning America” ​​got a taste of the frozen treat.

“We collaborated on an affogato ice cream flavor with Big Face Coffee – it’s cold infused ice cream swirled with milk flavored ice cream,” said Van Leeuwen co-founder Ben Van Leeuwen. , to “GMA”.

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

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

A pint of the new Big Face Affogato Van Leeuwen ice cream.

Van Leeuwen, big face brands

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

“Van Leeuwen as a whole aims to bring the best products to people and I want to follow suit and be like that, so it just made sense in the world to me,” he added.

Butler recalls his first meeting with Van Leeuwen at a scoop store in Brooklyn. “He took about 30 different flavors and put them around the table – I didn’t even get a chance to order – I was like they were too good and I have a game in a few hours,” did he declare.

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

The coffee lover turned business owner first showcased his passion for the drink with a quirky, self-contained coffee cart to serve other players inside the Orlando NBA bubble during the 2020 season. Last fall, Butler officially began selling beans under its Big Face Coffee label.

“I think since the bubble, we’ve started a real thing,” Butler said of his booming coffee business.

PICTURED: Ben Van Leeuwen and Jimmy Butler at The Scoop Shop in Tribeca.

Ben Van Leeuwen and Jimmy Butler at the scoop store in Tribeca.

Van Leeuwen ice cream

Butler understandably didn’t want to talk too much about basketball after his team lost to the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but the six-time NBA All-Star said he was very happy with what he and Van Leeuwen concocted. fans this offseason.

They used a heirloom Ethiopian coffee for the ice cream, which the 32-year-old striker described as “very sweet, fruity, very very soft – not hard”.

“It’s hard to give coffee experts a really good ice cream — we’d taste one and think ‘this is the one’ — but this finished product,” Butler said with a smile, “they really did — we want it’s been 23 bites in a pint and here we go, it’s so good.”

“We needed to do something really good, and it was really easy to do here, because the coffee is so good,” Van Leeuwen said of the final product, which only took five or six iterations to perfect before being put on. on scoop store menus.

“It was just kind of a side benefit, but Big Face’s creativity and branding is some of the coolest I’ve ever seen and so unique – so that part of the collaboration seeing that little logo is really exciting,” he added.

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 scoops and pints. It’s also the first time a seasonal flavor has been made available for purchase online nationwide.

“I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of great people along the way to help me find ways to be better,” Butler said. “I’m so excited for everyone to try it out.”

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

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