Vin Baker was not only an Olympic Gold Medal winner and successful NBA player but also a man who had everything. Money, cars, a wonderful house. One would think that is all one needs to be happy. For the professional athlete, however, it was the perfect mix for failure.
He became depressed and eventually an alcoholic living a double life. After several suspensions from the Boston Celtics and quick stops with other NBA teams his career was over in 2006. A few years later he lost his money due to mismanagement and bad investments. Baker himself says it is a miracle that he did not end up in jail or dead and that God helped him turning his live around. He has been sober since 2011 and started working at Starbucks as a barista, became a manager, basketball coach for kids, and a trained minister.
“When you learn lessons in life, no matter what level you’re at financially, the important part to realize is it could happen,” he said. “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. If I use my notoriety in the right way, most people will appreciate that this guy is just trying to bounce back in his life”, he told Providence Journal’s Kevin McNamara in an interview.
Today Baker is as happy as he can be. It does not necessarily take a million dollars to lead a satisfying life. Some people, however, need to hit rock bottom first to be able to realize that.