View Full Version : Former NBA All Star Vin Baker quits alcohol and is studying to become a pastor

Basketball Fan
02-09-2013, 11:19 PM
Its actually a 6 page article but I only pasted the first page here.. its a really great article..

Former NBA All-Star Vin Baker rebounds from life of booze and excess with help from Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem
Now, Baker is a student at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan, studying to get his Master’s degree in divinity with the hopes of becoming a pastor, just like his father, who also struggled with alcohol and stopped drinking after a religious awakening

Drinking problems ruined the career of former Knick Vin Baker, who is now a youth minister at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, mentoring youths.

Vin Baker is resting an elbow on a wooden pulpit, his 6-11 body wrapped in a snappy, plaid suit that seems to stretch on forever. He takes a deep breath and exhales, his long face looking down for a moment. The audience waits patiently, kids sitting up straight. Then, Baker, a four-time NBA All-Star, tells his story, difficult as it might be. Delivering a sermon is harder than shooting free throws, he says.

“At one point I thought having a full armor of God was having a sneaker in my name and having millions of dollars,” he says with a smile, looking out to a small crowd seated in folding chairs. “In my career, I amassed $105 million. Sounds like a pretty big armor, right?”

Most of the adults in the crowd quickly reply with an “Uh huh.”

Baker smiles and goes on.

“When you’re protected by the armor of God, it doesn’t matter how much money you had or how many gold medals you won in the Olympics. No, the armor means praying and having the armor protect you from the enemy.”

He speaks without notes, his voice getting stronger.

“When you get some $100 million, it’s easy to forget about God,” said Baker, who spent some time with the Knicks. “I’m guilty. I forgot about church on Sunday. But he brought me back under his protection.”

As an NBA player for 13 seasons, Baker was an anomaly: a 6-11 forward who could shoot from the outside and dribble like a guard.

As a preacher, Baker is similarly gifted, speaking in a soothing, deep tone, cracking jokes, taking his time. Baker was a man in control as he delivered a sermon to the Abyssinian Baptist Junior Church on a Sunday in early January. So, it was a surprise that Baker, 41, chose to talk about his own failings, of blowing millions of dollars in his career, and struggling to come to terms with his relationship with God. And though he didn’t mention it, his failures all stemmed from an addiction to alcohol and with issues of depression — a one-two combination that destroyed his career and nearly killed him, he admits.

Still, he was standing there before the church group that day, clean and sober, looking trim, full of promise.

In the nearly two years since Baker has sworn off alcohol, he has worked hard to get his life together, abstaining from the hard liquor he favored after games.

Baker doesn’t attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or follow a 12-step program. But he does subscribe to a higher power. Since May, out of the public eye, in a basement of the Abyssinian Church in Harlem, Baker has served as a youth minister, running Sunday morning prayer services and counseling young adults in the evenings. He does this for no money, with little glamour or fanfare. He is no longer Vin Baker the Olympian, who once won 61 games alongside Gary Payton with the Seattle SuperSonics. He is far removed from that life.

Now, he is a student at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan, studying to get his Master’s degree in divinity with the hopes of becoming a pastor, just like his father, who also struggled with alcohol and stopped drinking after a religious awakening at age 20. Baker lives in a sparse but pleasant two-bedroom dorm at Union, a change from the 9,613-square foot mansion in Connecticut he once called home.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/harlem-church-helps-nba-all-star-baker-rebound-life-booze-excess-article-1.1259642#ixzz2KSjyPB6I

02-10-2013, 12:28 AM
A Master of Divinity degree is no joke. It's very different from a Master of Arts. Standard MDiv is 90+ graduate hours... roughly equivalent of a MA and a PhD in some fields. And Union is a legit seminary.

Dude isn't taking the easy route.

02-10-2013, 05:05 AM
Good for him!

Glad to see someone going down a wrong path turn and take the narrow road.

I wish him nothing but blessings and success.

02-10-2013, 10:19 AM
He's more fortunate right now than the day he signed his mega contract. This is the kind of story I like to hear opposed to the Ryan Leaf type stories.

Downtown Bang!
02-10-2013, 10:43 AM
His fall-off from legit NBA 2nd tier star to a marginal contibutor with a bloated contract was pretty quick. The alcoholism explains a lot there including what I remember as some pretty significant weight/conditioning issues.

Always good to read about guys like this getting back on track. Hope he can keep it on track and hope he has enough of that $100 MIL left to take care of his family?

02-10-2013, 01:52 PM
I saw him play a couple of games where he was impossible to stop. That didn't last very long.

Props to his second wind.

02-10-2013, 02:43 PM
Great news!

For the record, though, I believe this has happened before with him though.

02-10-2013, 02:49 PM
Great news!

For the record, though, I believe this has happened before with him though.

I purposely didn't say this last night because I just didn't want to be "that guy", but yes I've read this article before about him. Well not THIS article but one just like it that said he had gotten his life together and was trying to be a minister.

I wish him well & hope he is on his way.

02-10-2013, 02:57 PM
Hey, if Ma$e can do it...

02-10-2013, 02:58 PM
Good for Vin. My roommate is working on her MDiv and she works at least 20 hours more a week than I do. Gotta put in a lot of time for that.

02-10-2013, 03:16 PM
I wish him the best of luck. I also hope he kept a few millions back for his old age.

Basketball Fan
07-28-2015, 10:18 PM

Former NBA All-Star Vin Baker training to be Starbucks manager

Vin Baker was in Las Vegas for NBA Summer League, working as an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was also there networking — what really goes on in Las Vegas, between scouts, GMs, coaches and the media. In Baker’s case, he was working to find an NBA assistant coaching job.

That didn’t seem to pan out, so he’s going to his fall back — owning a Starbucks.

Which means learning how to run a Starbucks. He is going through training on that now, something he talked about with Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal.

The world’s tallest, and perhaps most famous, barista is stationed behind a busy coffee counter. His smile and easy-going style welcome customers looking for their Starbucks fix as they fastbreak to work or South County’s beaches….

This is Vin Baker’s world these days. This is the same Baker who grew up in Old Saybrook, Conn., and went on to become one of New England’s all-time great collegiate basketball players at the University of Hartford. It’s the same Baker who won Olympic gold in 2000, played in four NBA All-Star Games and spent 13 years in the pros, including parts of two seasons with the Celtics.

It’s also the same Baker who battled alcoholism toward the end of his career. That addiction, plus a series of financial missteps ranging from a failed restaurant to simply too many hands dipping into his gold-plated cookie jar, combined to wipe out nearly $100 million in earnings.

Now 43, newly married and with four children, Baker is training to manage a Starbucks franchise.

Baker has experience and perspective that a lot of young NBA players could benefit from (at least those who would listen). But getting a foot in the door in the NBA is not easy, even for former All-Star players.

Whether owning or managing a Starbucks, what matters is that Baker is sober — four years now — and on a path that works for him. If you choose to view this as another athlete who blew through their money, ask yourself if you were an instant millionair at 20, with a lot of other perks thrown at you, how mature would your decisions have been?

I’ll see this as a case of redeption, of a guy who got his life back and under control. I’d love to see him back around the NBA, but if not in a Starbucks works, too.

07-29-2015, 12:17 PM
So now is he expounding upon and preaching the virtues of "Caffeine to the Brim Tome?"

07-29-2015, 12:38 PM
Now you can have the guy who just performed a church service make you a latte. Is there anything dude can't do?