If you were a Milwaukee Bucks or a Seattle Supersonics fan back in the ’90s, you most probably remember Vin Baker. Baker was a 4-time NBA All-Star and a reliable center/power forward. Despite an excellent start to his NBA career, Baker later faced problems with alcoholism, which affected his career.
After his NBA career was over in 2006, Baker’s problems with alcoholism and depression took over, and on top of that, he was facing severe financial issues as well. He didn’t have a job, and he needed to provide for his family, so he came up with an idea to call his former boss Howard Schultz, who owned the Seattle Supersonics at that time but also a top-rated franchise, Starbucks.
“It must’ve taken me about a month to call Howard. “I was like, ‘What am I going to say? And I had just left Bible study at my church in Old Saybrook, and I pulled over, got my nerves together. I prayed. And I called him, and his voice — he was excited. He was like, ‘Vinny!’ And I’ll never forget his excitement in his voice. And he said to me, ‘You sound great!’ Like, ‘You sound terrific. We met. And we came up with a plan. And we exercised that plan, and part of the plan was to make caramel macchiatos and serve coffee at Starbucks.”
Imagine a scenario where an NBA All-Star who earned tens of millions of dollars, starts working Starbucks making coffee. In Baker’s mind, he needed to begin working to feel good about himself and gain the confidence he can contribute. He had to wake up at 3:45 am to get ready for work, and he said that wasn’t a problem because he knew deep inside that was the best for him at that stage of his life.
“To actually grab the green apron — that was a little bit short, by the way — grab the green apron and throw it on and then walk out, it was surreal. Surreal, as in getting up at 3:45 am to open the store. From the work perspective, it wasn’t that difficult. Because I don’t mind working. But, obviously, the story behind it was difficult some days, but I ultimately said, ‘This is all for the best.'”