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Vin BakerRocky Widner /NBAE/Getty Images

The story of Vin Baker can be seen as a sad one: A former big man for the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics and other teams -- he of four straight All-Star appearances and one 20-and-10 season -- fell into alcoholism and ended up losing nearly $100 million.

But that story is far from over, and it's taken a significant and positive turn.

As profiled by the Providence Journal, the 43-year-old Connecticut native is now living in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and training to be a manager at the Starbucks for which he works.

"In this company, there are opportunities for everyone," the 6-foot-11 Baker told the paper. "I have an excellent situation here at Starbucks, and the people are wonderful."

As for the people who view his story as tragic, Baker was quick to downplay that notion. He isn't running away from it, either; he wants people to learn from his mistakes.

"When you learn lessons in life, no matter what level you're at financially, the important part to realize is it could happen," he told the 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."

There's much more in Kevin McNamara's piece on Baker, who recently worked with the Bucks coaching staff at the Las Vegas Summer League, thanks to an invite from Jason Kidd.

Check it out here.

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Shaquille O'Neal and Scottie Pippen Johnny Nunez/WireImage

A week ago, Shaquille O'Neal and Scottie Pippen got into an Instagram feud over the former's suggestion that an all-time Los Angeles Lakers lineup would beat that of the Chicago Bulls ... by 50.

On Tuesday, Shaq talked about it on his podcast, The Big Podcast with Shaq ... and did nothing to dump water on the fire.

Instead, he poured gallons and gallons of gasoline.

It all started when he was asked if his Instagram post was meant to call out the Bulls.

"Of course not. ... I didn't even make the picture; some other little guy made the picture so I just took it. ... And I said we'd beat 'em by 50. And that's how I feel and I'm sticking to it. I didn't say: 'Hey at Scottie Pippen, we'll beat you guys by 50. Hey, at Rodman we'll beat you guys by [50].' I just said, 'I'll beat you by 50.'"

This is where Pippen went wrong, according to Shaq. O'Neal explains:

"He made it personal when he said, 'Oh, at Shaq, hey I don't believe in hypotheticals.' So he swung first, so I'm going to swing second, and I'm going to swing last. Because I don't let bums disrespect me.

"Yeah, he was a great player, but I'm the bridge, he's the water. He will always be under me. Every now and then he will rise to the occasion and get to the same level as the bridge. But when reality kicks in, I am bridge, he is water, he is under me. Scottie Pippen can't disrespect me. So he comes at me, I'm coming back. And we can do this all day, because I have nothing to do."

Shaq wasn't done.

"He made it personal when he put 'At Shaq, we've got six rings,' like he was the main focus of the six rings. You were not the main focus of the six rings. Don't make me put out the scouting report. He wasn't even a factor in the scouting report. It was all about [Michael Jordan]. ... You double Mike, Scottie was open, Scottie hit a couple shots."

Still not done.

"Let's just talk reality. When you say top 10 players, his name will never be mentioned. When you say top 20 players, his name maybe will be mentioned. So don't come to me like I'm not a player. ... You're a Benz, you're a 550. I'm a 600, V-12. OK?"

At this point, O'Neal was asked if he really meant "bum." His response?

"Bum."

Then:

"Think about why I'm saying 'bum.' Because I have the G-14 classification to say that. Everybody can't say that about a Scottie Pippen, but I can. ... I can say he's a bum."

G-14, if you were wondering, is from the movie "Rush Hour."

Now, does O'Neal have a relationship with Pippen?

"I don't. ... He was cool, respectful and all that. But he made it personal when he came at me, flashing his six rings like he was the main, main factor of the six rings. Stop it, Scottie. We all know you were second fiddle. You'll always be second fiddle. ... You're Robin. you're not Batman. You're not Puffy, you're Mase."

Was Shaq a Robin?

"Yeah, towards the end."

But ...

"Three Finals MVPs ain't got Robin on it. Robin Hood [maybe]."

Then O'Neal went back in on Pippen. At this point, if we'd been tagging these with fire emoji, we'd be out.

"When Michael left, you didn't do nothing. All you did was cry and whine when Phil [Jackson] didn't give you the last shot. He gave it to Toni Kukoc, who was a much better player than you. Toni Kukoc hit the game[-winning] shot. When you left and went to Houston, what did you do? Nothing. When you left and went to Portland, what did you do? Oh yeah, you took us to a Game 7 ... up by 17 in the fourth quarter, what happened? You lose."

For the unfamiliar, this is the infamous refusing-to-come-off-the-bench moment from during Jordan's first retirement, and this is the write-up for the Lakers' epic 2000 comeback (it was actually 16 points in the game and 15 in the fourth).

Shaq was just about done, but wanted to make one last point:

"Those are Mike's six rings."

Woof. Pippen has been invited to go on the podcast to debate; we'll see if that happens.

Click here to listen to the full podcast.

H/T Sporting News

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Jesse D. Garrabant/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA 5-on-5: Orlando Magic

One year on from the Dwight Howard trade, and already the Orlando Magic are showing signs of their return. They're not there yet, but with rookie Victor Oladipo joining Nikola Vucevic, Andrew Nicholson, Maurice Harkless and Tobias Harris, belief surely will course through Amway Center's hallways this season. How much will it show on the court? The NBA 5-on-5 guys had their say and now it's time for SportsNation to weigh in.

What grade would you give the Magic's offseason?

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    17%
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    47%
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    24%
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    7%
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    5%

Discuss (Total votes: 169)

  • What is the biggest question facing the Magic in 2013-14?

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      31%
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      69%

    Discuss (Total votes: 152)

  • Who is the Magic's most intriguing player?

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      77%
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      9%
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      14%

    Discuss (Total votes: 163)

  • Which of these bold predictions by the 5-on-5 panel is most likely to come true?

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      17%
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      18%
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      22%
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      33%
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      10%

    Discuss (Total votes: 146)

  • How many games will the Magic win this season (20-62 in 2012-13)?

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      10%
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      43%
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      33%
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      14%

    Discuss (Total votes: 150)

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Are Magic disrespecting Howard?

Two teams removed from the franchise with which he made his name, Dwight Howard is a little miffed. That's because the Orlando Magic are letting promising youngster Tobias Harris wear No. 12 -- the same number Howard donned before his contentious exit to Los Angeles. It's reportedly unclear whether Howard knows why Harris wears 12 -- as a tribute to a close friend who died of leukemia as a teenager. But to some that might not matter, after Howard all but forced his way out of the Sunshine State.

  • Should the Magic allow other players to wear No. 12 post-Dwight Howard?

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      87%
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      7%
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      6%

    Discuss (Total votes: 40,511)

  • What is your opinion of Dwight Howard?

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      13%
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      50%
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      37%

    Discuss (Total votes: 56,536)

  • If you were a Magic fan, what would you most remember about Dwight Howard's eight seasons in Orlando?

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      24%
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      76%

    Discuss (Total votes: 28,676)

  • Which player had the better Magic career?

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      20%
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      80%

    Discuss (Total votes: 56,336)

  • When will the Magic next make the playoffs?

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      5%
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      23%
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      72%

    Discuss (Total votes: 8,679)

  • What grade do you give the Orlando Magic's post-Dwight Howard rebuilding project?

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      6%
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      21%
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      38%
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      21%
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      14%

    Discuss (Total votes: 8,699)

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There's no question that the NBA has become a young man's game. Basketball fans see it night-in and night-out when the Thunder's high-scoring duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook or the Rockets' James Harden and Jeremy Lin take the court. It's also noticeable in the high-flying dunks and sweet passing that members of the Cavaliers and Pelicans are capable of. Which team has the best young talent? NBA Insider Amin Elhassan had his say, and now it's time for SportsNation to weigh in! Mouse over the team logos to view each team's under-25 players, then click to set your rankings!

Rank 'Em: Point guards | Shooting guards | Power forwards | Centers

NBA teams under-25 talent

76ers

76ers

Lavoy Allen (24)
James Anderson (24)
Michael Carter-Williams (21)
Justin Holiday (24)
Arsalan Kazemi (23)
Arnett Moultrie (22)
Nerlens Noel (19)
Tim Ohlbrecht (24)
Evan Turner (24)
Royce White (22

Bobcats

Bobcats

Bismack Biyombo (20)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (19)
Jeff Taylor (24)
Kemba Walker (23)
Cody Zeller (20)

Bucks

Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo (18)
John Henson (22)
Brandon Knight (21)
Khris Middleton (21)
Larry Sanders (24)
Nate Wolters (22)

Bulls

Bulls

Jimmy Butler (23)
Erik Murphy (22)
Derrick Rose (24)
Tony Snell (21)
Marquis Teague (20)

Cavaliers

Cavaliers

Anthony Bennett (20)
Carrick Felix (22)
Kyrie Irving (21)
Sergey Karasev (19)
Tristan Thompson (22)
Dion Waiters (21)
Tyler Zeller (23)

Celtics

Celtics


Avery Bradley (22)
MarShon Brooks (24)
Jordan Crawford (24)
Colton Iverson (24)
Fab Melo (23)
Kelly Olynyk (22)
Phil Pressey (22)
Jared Sullinger (21)

Clippers

Clippers

Reggie Bullock (22)
Blake Griffin (24)
Byron Mullens (24)
Maalik Wayns (22)

Grizzlies

Grizzlies

Jerryd Bayless (24)
Ed Davis (24)
Jamaal Franklin (22)
Kosta Koufos (24)
Jon Leuer (24)
Willie Reed (23)
Tony Wroten (20)

Hawks

Hawks

Jared Cunningham (22)
John Jenkins (22)
Shelvin Mack (23)
Mike Muscala (22)
Lucas Nogueira (21)
Dennis Schroeder (19)

Heat

Heat

Norris Cole (24)
James Ennis (23)

Jazz

Jazz

Trey Burke (20)
Alec Burks (22)
Derrick Favors (22)
Rudy Gobert (21)
Gordon Hayward (23)
Enes Kanter (21)

Kings

Kings

DeMarcus Cousins (22)
Jimmer Fredette (24)
Ray McCallum (22)
Ben McLemore (20)
Patrick Patterson (24)
Isaiah Thomas (24)

Knicks

Knicks

Tim Hardaway Jr (21)
C.J. Leslie (22)
Iman Shumpert (23)
Jeremy Tyler (22)

Lakers

Lakers

Ryan Kelly (22)
Robert Sacre (24)

Magic

Magic

Maurice Harkless (20)
Tobias Harris (21)
Doron Lamb (21)
E'Twaun Moore (24)
Andrew Nicholson (23)
Kyle O'Quinn (23)
Victor Oladipo (21)
Romero Osby (23)
Nikola Vucevic (22)

Mavericks

Mavericks

Jae Crowder (23)
Shane Larkin (20)
Ricky Ledo (20)

Nets

Nets

Mason Plumlee (23)
Toko Shengelia (21)
Tyshawn Taylor (23)

Nuggets

Nuggets

Kenneth Faried (23)
Evan Fournier (20)
Danilo Gallinari (24)
Jordan Hamilton (22)
J.J. Hickson (24)
Quincy Miller (20)
Anthony Randolph (24)

Pacers

Pacers

Paul George (23)
Solomon Hill (22)
Orlando Johnson (24)
Lance Stephenson (22)

Pelicans

Pelicans

Al-Farouq Aminu (22)
Anthony Davis (20)
Tyreke Evans (23)
Eric Gordon (24)
Jrue Holiday (23)
Pierre Jackson (21)
Darius Miller (23)
Austin Rivers (21)
Jeff Withey (23)

Pistons

Pistons

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (20)
Andre Drummond (19)
Brandon Jennings (23)
Tony Mitchell (21)
Greg Monroe (23)
Peyton Siva (22)

Raptors

Raptors

Quincy Acy (22)
Dwight Buycks (24)
DeMar DeRozan (24)
Terrence Ross (22)
Jonas Valanciunas (21)

Rockets

Rockets

Isaiah Canaan (22)
Robert Covington (22)
James Harden (23)
Terrence Jones (21)
Jeremy Lin (24)
Donatas Motiejunas (22)
Chandler Parsons (24)
Greg Smith (22)
BJ Young (20)

Spurs

Spurs

Cory Joseph (21)
Kawhi Leonard (22)
Patty Mills (24)
Deshaun Thomas (21)

Suns

Suns

Michael Beasley (24)
Eric Bledsoe (23)
Archie Goodwin (18)
Malcolm Lee (23)
Alex Len (20)
Kendall Marshall (21)
Markieff Morris (23)
Marcus Morris (23)
Miles Plumlee (24)

Thunder

Thunder

Steven Adams (20)
Kevin Durant (24)
Serge Ibaka (23)
Reggie Jackson (23)
Grant Jerrett (20)
Perry Jones III (21)
Jeremy Lamb (21)
Daniel Orton (23)
Andre Roberson (21)
Russell Westbrook (24)

Timberwolves

Timberwolves

Lorenzo Brown (22)
Gorgui Dieng (23)
Kevin Love (24)
Shabazz Muhammad (20)
Ricky Rubio (22)
Alexey Shved (24)
Derrick Williams (22)

Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers

Will Barton (22)
Nicolas Batum (24)
Victor Claver (24)
Allen Crabbe (21)
Meyers Leonard (21)
Damian Lillard (23)
C.J. McCollum (21)
Thomas Robinson (22)

Warriors

Warriors

Harrison Barnes (21)
Kent Bazemore (24)
Festus Ezeli (23)
Draymond Green (23)
Nemanja Nedovic (22)
Klay Thompson (23)

Wizards

Wizards

Bradley Beal (20)
Otto Porter Jr. (20)
Glen Rice Jr. (22)
Kevin Seraphin (23)
Chris Singleton (23)
Jan Vesely (23)
John Wall (22)

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