A four-time NBA All-Star and Olympic gold-medal winner (2000), Baker ended his professional basketball career with the Los Angeles Clippers after the 2005-06 season.
Since then, he’s battled alcoholism and financial missteps, gotten sober and become a pastor. His latest move, as McNamara reports, is setting a course toward becoming the full-time manager of a Starbucks in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.
“I love North Kingstown,” Baker told McNamara. “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.”
Baker is currently working behind the counter as a barista and learning the ropes of the business at an operational level. It’s not the most traditional gig for a guy who earned $100 million playing basketball at the highest level, but he says it’s part of his overall plan for personal redemption:
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 credits his opportunity at Starbucks to company CEO Howard Schultz, who owned the Seattle SuperSonics during his four-season stretch on the team from 1997-2002.
As for basketball, nowadays Baker is still trying to catch on with an NBA team in a coaching capacity. Until he gets that call, however, he’s minding the roast and slowly taking over the caffeine cartel.
Get that money, Vin, and remember: He who controls the coffee controls the world.