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NBA all-star Vin Baker (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

Former four-time NBA all-star Vin Baker, 43, has now taken his talents to Starbucks in Rhode Island.

During his stint in the NBA, Baker battled alcoholism and financial troubles that whittled away over $100 million in earnings,including his 10,000-square-foot home in Durham, Conn., that was foreclosed and sold for $2.5 million.

Baker has currently been sober for four years and is in training to be a manager at Starbucks, an opportunity he credits to CEO Howard Shultz, the former Seattle SuperSonics owner.

“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,” Baker told 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, it will go.”

Baker was drafted eighth overall in the 1993 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, which eventually led to him signing a 10-year, $17.5 million deal.  In 1997, he was traded to the Seattle Supersonics in a seven-year, $86-million deal.

His 13-year career and life soured as his problems with alcohol—and untrustworthy associates—grew worse. Today, Baker is a minister at his father’s church and counsels former and current athletes on the pitfalls of the profession. Among the lessons he imparts is the need for athletes to personally manage their earning and to surround themselves with trustworthy people.

The 43-year-old father of four say while many may see his life’s story as one of a tragic reversal of fortune, he views it as one of redemption.
“For me this could have ended most likely in jail or death. That’s how these stories usually end,” Baker told the Journal.  “For me to summon the strength to walk out here and get excited about retail management at Starbucks and try to provide for my family, I feel that’s more heroic than being 6-11 with a fade-away jump shot. I get energy from waking up in the morning and, first of all, not depending on alcohol, and not being embarrassed or ashamed to know I have a family to take care of. The show’s got to go on.”