VIN Baker is hoping to be more involved in basketball again, while pursuing a managerial position at a Starbucks.
The four-time All-Star recently worked as an assistant with former team Milwaukee Bucks during the NBA Summer League after getting invited by former teammate and now head coach Jason Kidd.
But aside from getting back on the hardwood, albeit on the sidelines, Baker is looking to bounce back from struggles that cut short his playing career and saw him lose millions of dollars in earnings.
A recovering alcoholic, the four-time NBA All-Star now works as a barista at a Starbucks in North Kingstown, Rhode Island and is training to become a manager.
While Kidd may have helped nudge Baker to a return to top-level basketball, the 6-foot-11 star who is now 43 years old has Starbucks CEO and the former Seattle SuperSonics owner Howard Shultz to thank for the opportunity to manage a franchise of one of world’s largest coffee shop chains.
“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,” Baker told Kevin McNamara of providencejournal.com.
“In this company there are opportunities for everyone. I have an excellent situation here at Starbucks and the people are wonderful,” said Baker.
Drafted eighth overall by the Bucks in 1993, Baker went on to play for the Sonics, Celtics, Knicks, Rockets and Clippers.
Baker noted "in a lot of cases it’s more money, more problems" for players. He has counseled athletes and is willing to share his experience to more players.
“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.