Vin Baker was a four-time All-Star before personal problems led to the end of his career.
Video: Vin Baker coaches ninth-graders
Upon retirement, many NBA players stick around the game of basketball, whether as coaches, executives, announcers, or businessmen with an interest in the sport. Vin Baker, however, didn't have an opportunity to stick around the highest levels of the game. In 2006, Baker retired after 13 seasons in the NBA, during which he made four All-Star teams and won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Yet, despite these accomplishments, he left the game on bad terms due to struggles with alcoholism.
Now, Baker is turning his life around, and he's doing it with the help of basketball. But while many ex-NBA athletes get high-profile coaching jobs, Baker is plying his trade in Connecticut as the ninth-grade boys coach at Old Saybrook High School, his alma mater. As you can see in the video above from SLAM Online, the team takes its halftime speeches in a converted storage closet with folding chairs and a decades-old television. It's a far cry from a top-level facility.
But, if you watch this four-minute halftime speech, you'll see that Baker is taking this job as seriously as any other coaching gig. He implores his kids to play for the team, not themselves, and he's as passionate about it as a coach at any other level of the game.
The video itself is part of a larger SLAM feature on Baker. It's great to see him doing well, and we all wish him the best for the future.