Vin Baker went from NBA All-Stars fame to a Starbucks cafe counter. But despite his 13-year history of basketball success and four All-Star Weekend events, alcoholism temporarily consumed Vin.
Baker now is 43-years-old, and the basketball legend has been sober for four years, telling his story from the vantage point of a Starbucks barista in Rhode Island, reported MSN.
During his more than decade-long NBA career, Vin changed jerseys six times. His All-Star Weekend trips occurred in sequence, from 1995 through 1998. And Baker is honest about why he’s no longer with his former teams that included the Celtics, Bucks, SuperSonics, Clippers, Knicks, and Rockets.
Alcoholism caused Vin to become dangerously uninhibited about what came to more than $100 million from his NBA career, reported the Washington Post.
But the now-sober Baker views his Starbucks profession as helping him get into an “excellent situation.”
And Vin expressed his appreciation for his new career, which helps him be trained to become a Starbucks franchise manager, crediting Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
In a serendipity situation, Schultz was the owner of the SuperSonics when Baker was on the team. The name has since been changed to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“In this company there are opportunities for everyone. I have an excellent situation here at Starbucks and the people are wonderful,” said Vin.
Talking with the Providence Journal, Vin emphasized what he learned from his experience that Baker hopes will provide a lesson to other basketball players.
“When you learn lessons in life, no matter what level you’re at financially, the important part to realize is it could happen,” said Vin. “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.”
Baker, now a father and minister in his own dad’s church, wants to use his new fame to showcase what he views as the important lesson about what it means to have pride in living a clean, sober, meaningful life.
“For me this could have ended most likely in jail or death. That’s how these stories usually end. 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.”
How can young NBA players learn from Vin? Baker urges that they seek a trustworthy person.
“I would insist [to NBA players] that you surround yourself with the person you trust the absolute most, someone who can tell you, ‘You’re wrong, don’t buy that, don’t go there, that person’s no good.’ I would also say be able to monitor every single dime that comes out of your accounts as if you’re a Starbucks barista. My check here I know exactly where my money goes. Don’t trust it with an accountant or a family friend. Make sure you’re aware and be responsible because next thing you know people are stealing from you.”
As the Inquisitr reported, rapper Macklemore just revealed his own battle to stay sober. He recently relapsed with sleeping pills and marijuana before regaining his sobriety.
[Photo by Jamie Squire / Getty Images]