Vin Baker played 14 seasons in the NBA with six different teams and made $US97.4 million in his career as a basketball player. Now Baker is embarking on a new career as a Starbucks manager.
Baker is working as a barista at a Starbucks in North Kingstown, Rhode Island as part of his training to become a manager, according to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal.
Baker’s road to this career was a rocky one, but he appears to have some good perspective on his struggles.
He told McNamara:
“I was an alcoholic, I lost a fortune. I had a great talent and lost it. For the people on the outside looking in, they’re like ‘Wow.’ For me, I’m 43 and I have four kids. I have to pick up the pieces. I’m a father. I’m a minister in my father’s church. I have to take the story and show that you can bounce back. If I use my notoriety in the right way, most people will appreciate that this guy is just trying to bounce back in his life.”
In 2008, he had his $US3 million home in Durham, Connecticut foreclosed on for failing to pay his mortgage. Earlier that year, a restaurant Baker was a part-owner of also went out of business and in 2014 he was forced to auction of the gold medal he won at the 2000 Olympics.
“If you don’t have perspective in your personal life and you don’t understand what this $US1 million or $US15 million means, it will go,” he said.
In addition, the four-time All-Star says he battled alcoholism toward the end of his playing career, but has now been sober for four years.
While most would lament the loss of a fortune and the lifestyle that comes with it, Baker sounds upbeat.
“For me this could have ended most likely in jail or death. That’s how these stories usually end,” Baker told the Journal. “For me to summon the strength to walk out here and get excited about retail management at Starbucks and try to provide for my family, I feel that’s more heroic than being 6-11 with a fade-away jump shot. I get energy from waking up in the morning and, first of all, not depending on alcohol, and not being embarrassed or ashamed to know I have a family to take care of. The show’s got to go on.”
Baker has also spent time as an assistant coach for Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks Summer League team, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo.
While there, Baker spoke to the players about his downfall and recovery, telling Spears, “The biggest mistake I made was trying to keep basketball as the priority. All the flags were around me. Life is bigger than the sport itself. When you have agents, fans, friends, family pushing basketball and all the other stuff gets kind of pushed under the rug when the signs are there that there is an issue. You got to make life the priority before someone else makes it a priority.”
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