Skip to main content

Vin Baker shares how Giannis Antetokounmpo reacted to his alcoholic-turned-Starbucks barista story

From being an alcoholic to a Starbucks barista to the Bucks assistant coach, Vin Baker left Giannis in awe of his story
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and assistant coach Vin Baker

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Vin Baker

One of the primary reasons players dream of making it to the NBA is to have a better life. But while it is totally fine to enjoy the fruits of your labor, some NBA stars go overboard and blow it all. Among them was the four-time NBA All-Star Vin Baker.

Just like any other college prospect, Baker had a bright future ahead of him in 1993. The NBA was waiting to see what a 6-foot-11 finesse center could do on basketball’s biggest stage, and they weren’t disappointed. In his second season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Baker became an All-Star at age 23.

For the next few seasons, Baker would become one of the better big men in the league, earning three more All-Star appearances in the process. However, his addiction to alcohol gradually got the better of him and saw him losing more than $100 million in fortune.

Vinnie’s Salvation

As expected, Baker’s game declined as his addiction took over. And after being shipped from team to team since 2002, “Shake and Bake” finally left the league in 2006.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

However, Vinnie wouldn’t let his story end that way and he found salvation in an unlikely environment- a Starbucks store.

I understand the addiction from every single level,” Baker told Los Angeles Times last year. “I haven’t left, in my mind, all the bad things that happened. Like, I didn’t forget about it. Nor have I forgotten about four years ago when I was just putting on a green apron at Starbucks. I’m not that far in the clouds. I have an absolute responsibility to provide hope for people who aren’t in healthy situations when it comes to addiction. That precedes anything else in my life.

A bond with Giannis

After years of rehabilitating, Baker became a management trainee in a Connecticut Starbucks establishment and soon managed his own store. In 2018, he found his way back to the NBA as a full-timer on Mike Budenholzer’s coaching staff. This led to a beautiful relationship with Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.

It is said that everyone in the Bucks organization has a Vin Baker story and Vinnie himself shared one of Giannis.’

One night we were talking and we had never had this conversation,” Baker recalled. “And Giannis said to me, we were at dinner, and he said ‘Coach, like, your story’s amazing. Like, I cannot believe it… it’s hard for me to even fathom what you’ve been through.’”

He was in awe that I had made it back from what I had gone through and I didn’t even realize he knew the extent of it,” he added.

Over the years, we’ve heard similar stories as Baker’s. Sadly, not all were able to get their life back like “Shake and Bake” did.

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd explains why he isn’t too concerned with the Dallas Mavericks' slow start to the season

Kidd believes that the Mavs are figuring things out slowly but surely, and ensured fans that they won't be winning any awards for the first 20 games of the season

Charles Barkley & Erik Spoelstra

Charles Barkley believes it's time for the Miami Heat to break the team up and start over

Barkley pondered whether or not it was time for the Heat to start from scratch amid their 11-14 run in the first 25 games of the season

Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley and New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson

“It looked like me and Shaq had a baby” — when Chuck had Shaq dying laughing with his Zion comment

One year later, Zion proved he's put in the work and is leading the New Orleans Pelicans to the playoffs.

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant and Washington Wizards point guard Gilbert Arenas

"It was intelligent trash talking, when you played him you’re playing a mental war" — Gilbert Arenas shares his experience trash-talking Kobe Bryant

Former Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas outlines what it was like to receive trash-talking from Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Former NBA player Stephen Jackson

"They gave me a check for $25,000 cash, I blew it all in one day" — Stephen Jackson reveals he blew his first NBA paycheck

Former three-point specialist Stephen Jackson reveals how he and Mike Bibby spent his first NBA pay check in a few hours.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and New Orleans Hornets guard Devin Brown

“I think we can pay you a little bit more than that” — When Gregg Popovich saved Devin Brown from an overnight stocker job

Thanks to Gregg Popovich's training camp invite, Devin Brown was able to live his NBA dream.

Dennis Rodman

"How was the nightlife with Dennis Rodman?" — questions that Chicago Bulls big man Luc Longley absolutely hated

Even those outside Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman were annoyed with repetitive questions.