Former NBA Star Vin Baker Gets Sober, Takes Job At Starbucks

By McCarton Ackerman 07/31/15

The former All-Star saw his money and career spiral down the drain.

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During the peak of his NBA playing days, former All-Star and offensive forward Vin Baker had a multi-million dollar contract and severe alcoholism. But after blowing through his fortune worth over $100 million, he’s now sober these days and taking on a completely new career path.

Baker, 43, is in the process of training to manage a Starbucks franchise. Part of the career switch is due to his relationship with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who owned the Seattle Supersonics during Baker’s final year with the team in 2001-02.

Baker has been sober for four years now. He admitted that his alcoholism was largely responsible for the errors that contributed to his financial collapse, which included bad investments and allowing lecherous friends to take advantage of him.

“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,” he said to the Providence Journal. “If you don’t have perspective in your personal life and you don’t understand what this $1 million or $15 million means, [then] it will go ... I lost a fortune. I had a great talent and lost it.”

He urged the current crop of NBA players to only surround themselves with a small group of trusted individuals and to “monitor every single dime that comes out of your accounts as if you’re a Starbucks barista.” But Baker insisted that he didn’t deserve sympathy and believed his story of redemption could ultimately inspire others.

“I’m 43 and I have four kids. I have to pick up the pieces ... I’m a minister in my father’s church. I have to take the story and show that you can bounce back,” he said. “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.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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