Vin Baker’s career is not one to glorify, but wayward tale of squandered potential. A once-rising star, he had a known problem with drinking. So much so that Boston Celtics doctors once told Baker he’d damaged his liver because of his alcoholism.
Financial woes led Baker to losing $100 million due to bad investments and friends taking advantage of him. Reports surfaced all around the internet Baker was working at a Starbucks a few years ago. Losing all that money and other substance abuse problems made Baker hit rock bottom.
But Baker has managed to turn his life around. In an interview to promote his recent book God and Starbucks, the former basketball player detailed his journey of getting sober and telling his story of how far he’s come.
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“I came from a dark, dark place,” he told WBUR.
He also added, “We talk recovery, one day at a time. Win the day. So when I got the job at Starbucks as a store manager in training, it was the upswing. I was happy. I was ecstatic.”
One interesting detail that came out of the interview, however, is that Baker admitted he once played in an NBA game after smoking cannabis. Ahead of the game, he was hanging with several other Milwaukee Bucks teammates, including Glenn Robinson. Baker said Robinson was smoking marijuana and offered him some.
Baker indulged. Later, he played “half-stoned,” but was lights out. In fact, it was a coming-out party of sorts for Baker, who scored 41 points.
“Statistically, it was my best game ever as a pro. I scored 41 points,” he told WBUR. “It was a weird coming out party for me, because in some ways it said, ‘Wow, I’ve arrived on this level, to score 40 points, which is a big deal in the NBA.’ But at the same time, the cost of arriving, I didn’t see that night.”
Baker now works in broadcast and served as a youth summer camp director this year.