More

Some find this former NBA athlete's latest career move shocking. He just wants you be happy for him.

What took Vin Baker from NBA all-star and Olympic gold medalist to proud barista and aspiring Starbucks store manager?

Some find this former NBA athlete's latest career move shocking. He just wants you be happy for him.

Vin Baker is known as the greatest basketball player to come out of the University of Hartford.

In 1992, Sports Illustrated dubbed Baker "America's best-kept secret" because of his widely overlooked stardom at the smaller Division I school. At 6'11", he was an imposing defensive player and had scoring chops to boot.


Photo by Henny Ray Abrams/AFP/Getty Images.

During his 13-year NBA career, Baker logged some stats that are not to be sneezed at.

He averaged 15 points and 7 rebounds per game. And while he never won a championship, he did make four all-star teams and won an Olympic gold medal with Team USA in 1999.

Photo by Jamie Squire /Getty Images.

But his career teetered as off-the-court drinking unfurled into full-blown alcoholism.

Addiction didn't just drain Baker's health and ability to perform. It drained his finances. He earned nearly $100 million over the course of his career, but most of it was lost to reckless spending and shady relationships.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images.

"I just didn't want to think about the success that I wasn't having that I had in the beginning of my career. It would just be a situation where I would try to numb myself to all the expectations."
— Vin Baker in a 2003 interview with the Boston Globe

Today, Baker is proud to say he's been sober for four years and has found a new career off the court.

With a helping hand from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (a friend and former team owner during Baker's time with the Seattle Supersonics) he's being trained as a barista and future store manager at a Starbucks in North Kingstown, Rhode Island.

Photo by George Frey/AFP/Getty Images.

Some people are shocked when they hear what he's up to nowadays, but Baker isn't looking for sympathy.

"For the people on the outside looking in, they're like 'Wow,'" Baker told the Providence Journal. "I'm 43 and I have four kids. I have to pick up the pieces."

Photo by George Frey/AFP/Getty Images.

To see Baker's story as a tragic fall from grace is to assume his story is over. But it's far from it.

He aims to make a positive impact every day both as a minister and as a mentor to young professional athletes who'll face a lot of the same struggles that come with money and fame. And that, to me, is the stuff of a real all-star.

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Allsport.

“To summon the strength to walk out here and get excited about retail management at Starbucks and try to provide for my family, I feel that's more heroic than being 6-11 with a fade-away jump shot. I get energy from waking up in the morning and, first of all, not depending on alcohol, and not being embarrassed or ashamed to know I have a family to take care of. The show's got to go on."
— Vin Baker
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less

As we careen through the first few weeks of 2021, we could all use a feel-good story. And what's better than a sweet proposal story to bring us all a bit of joy?

Jesse took his girlfriend Erin to a bird show at the Australian Zoo last week. (Since Australia has managed to control the pandemic, people are able to do such things. Isn't that nice?) The bird handler introduced the audience to Euli, a red-tailed black cockatoo, then asked the audience for a volunteer. Erin stood up and waved her arms, and when she was chosen, she assumed she'd gotten lucky.

The bird handler had Erin pull out a five-dollar bill and hold it in her hand with her arm out. Euli, the handler said, would know exactly who to go to since she was holding the money. Sure enough, Euli flew up to Erin, took the bill from her hand, and flew back.

Then the handler said Euli was going to take Erin her "receipt." The bird flew up, handed Erin a piece of paper. The handler told Erin to open it and read it, and that's when she got the surprise of her life.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.