Former NBA All-Star Vin Baker is aspiring to manage a Starbucks franchise, per The Providence Journal's Kevin McNamara.
Former NBA All-Star Vin Baker is now trying to move up the Starbucks corporate ladder.
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According to The Providence Journal's Kevin McNamara, Baker is aspiring to manage a Starbucks franchise in North Kingstown, R.I. He is now 43 years old and has four children.
Aside from his position at Starbucks, Baker is also an ordained minister who works in his father's church in nearby Connecticut. Now alcohol-free for four years, he thanks Starbucks CEO and former Seattle SuperSonics owner Howard Schultz for the opportunity, per McNamara:
"In this company there are opportunities for everyone. I have an excellent situation here at Starbucks and the people are wonderful.
"When you learn lessons in life, no matter what level you're at financially, the important part to realize is it could happen. 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."
Baker entered the pro ranks 22 years ago as the eighth overall pick of the 1993 NBA draft out of Hartford. He became an NBA All-Star just two years afterward, per McNamara.
He then inked a 10-year, $17.5 million contract with the Bucks but was traded to the Sonics four years later. His contract with Seattle was for seven years and $86 million, per The Providence Journal.
It was during his early days with the Boston Celtics when Baker's struggles began. When Seattle traded him to Boston in 2002, he had conflicts with then-Celtics head coach Jim O'Brien. He also began drinking heavily, per McNamara.
After suspending Baker thrice, the Celtics terminated his deal with $35 million left. The two sides reached a settlement after the players' union filed a grievance. Baker never became the player he once was in subsequent stints with the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers, per The Providence Journal.
His off-court issues were far from over.
Baker lost his residence in Durham, Ct. and his restaurant business, Vinnie's Saybrook Fish House, took a turn for the worse. He sued his accountant, Donald S. Brodeur, "for mismanagement and breach of contract" in 2012, per McNamara.
Baker admitted to McNamara he struggled immensely with his finances and now hopes today's NBA players manage their money wisely:
"When you make choices and decisions and think that it will never end, and then you get into spending and addiction and more spending, it's a definite formula for losing. If you don't have perspective in your personal life and you don't understand what this $1 million or $15 million means, it will go.
"I'd want guys to not take the money for granted. It can be here today and gone tomorrow. It can be gone from the wrong financial choices and decisions and people that you're involved with or, in my case, gone from things that you struggle with off the court.
"As quickly as that contract can be signed, there are a hundred things that can also ruin it."
McNamara says Baker still wants to be involved in basketball in some capacity. His former teammate and current Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd invited him to join his staff in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Baker's financial struggles compelled him to discuss financial management issues with some Bucks players in Las Vegas, per The Providence Journal.
Baker concluded his interview with McNamara by saying he's happy to get a new lease on 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 fadeaway 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."
In June 2014, Grey Flannel Auctions sold Baker's gold medal from the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics for $67,642. Baker sold the medal and even provided letters of authenticity to prove the medal's worth, per ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell.
Rovell says Baker earned more than $105 million during his 13-year NBA career. He averaged 15.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 791 career regular-season games from 1993 to 2006, per ESPN stats.
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