Vin Baker is a four-time NBA All-Star and a 2000 Olympic gold medal winner, now he may be making your favorite kind of coffee. Ever since he left the Los Angeles Clippers in 2006, the 43 year old has battled alcoholism and financial issues in past years, but now he has fortunately stayed sober, and even became a pastor. The former New York Knicks player is now trying to work his way up to a manager position in Starbucks, in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Baker says, “I love North Kingstown. It reminds me of my hometown, so it’s comfortable. I like this community. Starbucks draws a lot of repeat customers, and so many know me now.”
For now, Baker works behind the counter as a barista, and is slowly learning the process of how to manage a business. Baker says, “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 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 this guy is just trying to bounce back in his life.”
Baker gives credit of getting an opportunity with Starbucks to company CEO Howard Schultz, who owned the Seattle SuperSonics when Baker was on the team from 1997-2002. Baker wants to get a coaching position in the NBA, however, until he gets that opportunity, he’ll be at Starbucks, hopefully soon becoming a manager or greater. It seems the successful NBA player, turned alcoholic, is going to turn his whole life around for the better.