Everyone knows that professional athletes can score big salaries in addition to big points on the playing field. These players seem invincible—they have athletic prowess, they’re rich and famous—it seems like a surreal lifestyle. Despite the luster of fame and fortune though, these men and women are not immune to poor financial decisions leading to financial ruin. NBA player Vin Baker played 14 seasons with six different teams during his basketball career. He made $97.4 million in his career—significantly more than most of us see in a lifetime. However, Baker was ill prepared to manage his fairy-tale-sized fortune and as a result, is facing some real world reality checks in light of financial ruin.
Baker lost his $3 million home in Durham, Connecticut to foreclosure after failing to pay his mortgage. That same year, a restaurant that Baker was a part owner of also went out of business. When things got especially difficult later on in 2014, Baker auctioned off the gold medal he won at the 2000 Olympic games. Towards the end of his career, Baker admitted to battling alcoholism, a contributing factor to his financial ruin, but is four years sober now.
Baker told Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal, “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.”
Despite the trials and tribulations of financial ruin after so much fame, Baker manages to keep an upbeat attitude and some perspective. He is now training to manage a Starbucks in Rhode Island. He admits that, “this could have ended most likely in jail or death. That’s how these stories usually end. For me to summon the strength to walk out here and get excited about retail management at Starbucks and try to provide for me family, I feel that’s more heroic than being 6-11 with a fade-away jump shop.”
Baker’s story is important because the problems he faced—financial mismanagement, addiction, loss—are all too common. His rebound in life is more impressive than any he’s displayed on the court, and commendable. However, our advisors at Apex Financial realize that many of his problems could have been prevented with good fiscal management. We’d like to help guarantee that Baker’s problems don’t become your own. Contact an advisor at Apex Financial to get started on growing and guarding your family’s wealth today!