Wednesday July 29th, 2015

Former NBA All-Star Vin Baker battled alcoholism after 13 seasons in the league, and eventually lost almost all of his $100 million career earnings.

Now, Baker is much happier, if not as visible, in his new job as a Starbucks barista. The Providence Journal has the full story of how Baker, 43 and newly-married, has turned his life around and is now in training to become a Starbucks manager. 

“In this company there are opportunities for everyone,” Baker said. “I have an excellent situation here at Starbucks and the people are wonderful.” 

Baker was selected eighth in the 1993 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He went on to become a four-time All Star for the Bucks and the Seattle SuperSonics, which became the Oklahoma City Thunder. He averaged 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per game over his career, which ended in 2006 as he struggled with his alcohol problems. 

In addition to his job at Starbucks, Baker now works at his father's church in Connecticut. This summer, he helped former teammate Jason Kidd and worked with the Bucks' coaching staff at the Las Vegas summer league, where he shared stories of his struggles with young players. 

“When you learn lessons in life, no matter what level you’re at financially, the important part to realize is it could happen,” Baker told the Providence Journal. “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.”

- Rohan Nadkarni

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