As a devout Michigan fan I reserve the right to give our boys some credit every now and then. After our week 1 loss to Utah the wolverines and coach Harbaugh have been getting the perfect wind underneath their sails as of late. Three straight victories and they have been getting it done in a number of facets. The team’s confidence is evident and the fans are starting to see the results most have been excited for since the hire of Jim Harbaugh. Let’s talk about some key reasons why the unranked Wolverines took a big jump to the #22 spot in the AP polls this week.
Defense, DEFENSE, and MORE DEFENSE
After giving up 337 yards and turning the ball over 3 times against a tough Utah team in week 1 the Wolverines have been able to right the ship and showcase a Harbaugh type of defense. I thought it was a tough task to send a young team on the road to a hostile environment like Utah in the first week but to their credit if it was not for a few over throws by quarterback Jake Rudock and some unforced errors Michigan would be an undefeated team. Despite their nerves getting the best of them the team has looked phenomenal the last 3 weeks.
The defense has stepped up big time in their 3 wins this season. In their 35-7 blowout of Oregon State Michigan defense only allowed 138 yards from scrimmage. They followed that performance against UNLV almost pitching a shutout. UNLV ended up scoring in the 4th quarter to end the game 28-7 but the dominance was apparent.
This past Saturday the Wolverines took on their best competition of the season. When #22 BYU came to the Big House people had expectations that the winning ways would change against a viable opponent. Once again Michigan stood supreme and the defense took over only allowing the tough BYU team 108 total yards. The defense only allowed 8 first downs in the entire game. I hope we can keep it up. The landscape of college football has their eyes on Michigan once again and many experts think they have the chance to go unblemished the rest of the way until that eventual meeting with bitter rivals and defending National Champions Ohio State.
Offense is Clicking as well
The Michigan offense has been putting it together since that week 1 loss as well. Even in the game against Utah the offense did whatever it could but shot themselves in the foot with untimely turnovers. As of late the offense has put the ball in running back De’veon Smith’s hands and he has done nothing but produce for them. Smith has accumulated 331 yards from scrimmage to go with his 4 touch downs. The quarterback has limited the turnovers which has resulted in 2 of 4 games of over 400 yards of total offense for the Wolverines. Numbers that seem so unreal coming off of the disappointing season a year ago. Wide Receivers Amara Darboh and Jake Butt have been able to find success against their opponents this year as well racking up 400+ yards, 35 catches, and 3 touch downs as a tandem. Darboh leads the way with his 242 yards so far this season.
It seems Coach Harbaugh is starting to get the hold of the locker room and the fans are seeing the results. There is still some fine tuning that needs to be done but as a wolverine fan I think we are heading in a great direction. Taking the #22 spot in the Polls this week and looking like one of the most dominant teams in the land for first time in some years, the Michigan aura is starting to slowly return. It could just be the implementation of the helmet stickers but it looks like Maze and Blue is coming back to the glory days. Knock on wood…
I know it is football season and the NFL runs the airways for the next few months but I am honestly trying to prepare myself for Kobe Bryant’s last year in the NBA. The most competitive piece of me sees one of the best ever to do it getting ready to walk away from the game he loves. Now when it comes to great athletes I am one who appreciates the effort that goes into that journey. Those elite athletes like Kobe Bryant serve as inspirational figures of perseverance and commitment to one’s craft. We need to celebrate these people but Kobe is in such a rare class I hope his celebration doesn’t take away from the performer he strives to be even in his final year at it.
We are witnessing the end to an era. As I spoke about in my Mayweather piece we are losing some of our generation’s greatest examples of athletic excellence to father time. Not to say we didn’t expect it to happen but the actualization seems to be creeping up much faster. Kobe is 37 and still looks young but injuries over the last 2 seasons have hindered his ability to perform in the manner only he knows how. When in the game and actually healthy he has definitely been successful. His teammates play tentative at times but after being able to play a season without him in 2014-2015 I think the team has an opportunity to improve greatly.
Bryant has recently been cleared to play after rehabbing from tough shoulder injury that had him sidelined most of 2014-2015 season. Critics are wondering if Kobe will be able to perform at his highest level coming into his final year on his Lakers contract and ultimately his last ride as a professional. I have no doubt that Kobe will be Kobe if healthy. The Lakers have some young talent with Julius Randle, the Kentucky stand out who sat out last year due to injury and their top draft pick D’Angelo Russell from Ohio State who looks to be the next great Laker once his potential pans out. Adding Kobe to this young enthusiastic roster maybe the jolt they need to prepare for a life without Kobe in LA. Retirement is a tough moment for great athletes and I suspect Kobe has it on his mind and will do everything he can to go out as close to the top he can get to. This season could be a sendoff year like Derek Jeter for Kobe but as a Kobe guy I hope he plays like The Black Mamba and enjoys every minute of the season.
Kevin Durant is BACK!
I’m excited for the NBA season, we can finally have a conversation about basketball and include Kevin Durant without feeling uncertain about his future. The Oklahoma City Thunder announced that Durant is cleared by doctors to play this upcoming season. With only a month and some change left until the season starts this is great news for Durant as well as the NBA.
Sometimes fans these days have short memory and seem to forget Kevin Durant was NBA MVP 2014. Durant’s return coupled with the emergence of Russell Westbrook to the next level will put the Thunder amongst the hierarchy of the league once again. Without Durant, the Thunder and Westbrook failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008-2009. Although the effort was not an issue, a lack of scorers and multiple injuries ultimately lead them to falling 1 game out of the playoff picture. Even though their season went down to the final week it ended up being a season game that was decided by a buzzer beater by Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans that propelled the Pelicans above the Thunder for that 8th and final playoff spot.
After consecutive seasons of Thunder star players suffering season ending injuries they look to rebound and go forward with new head coach Billy Donovan. Donovan looks to take the experienced team to the next level like Steve Kerr and his staff were able to do with the Golden State Warriors this past season. If the Thunder can stay healthy, with the Westbrook/Durant show proceeding as normal I expect the Thunder to lead the West most of the season. Golden State will have a tough road with the Spurs, Thunder, Rockets, and Clippers all bolstering their rosters this offseason. I see Westbrook winning MVP and Kevin Durant will win the scoring title. The Thunder have a short window left with these two great players I think they finally figure out how to capitalize. What do you think about how the NBA season will pan out? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid star forward has been a dominant force in International Futbol since he stepped on the field. He was a heralded youth player with all intentions of being one of the best to EVER play the game. He became the 1st Portuguese born player to play for the power house Manchester United Team in 2003 and from there he began his more than dominant career with his nifty ball skills and uncanny ability to score goals. Fast forward 13 years and Ronaldo is arguably the best player in the world and proves it every time he steps on the field. He now plays for Real Madrid wear he holds the largest contract in sports. Although there is much debate with Barcelona’s mega-star all around stud Lionel Messi who has his own case that I will discuss later Ronaldo still remains top bill across the world.
Ronaldo is the first Portuguese born player to ever win 4 European Gold Shoes and 3 Ballon d’Or Awards in a career. The 30 year old is in the prime of his career and has yet to slow down. In the 2014 FIFA World Cup he came up big against the United States with less than 2 minutes left in the game to crush the USA chances of a 1st round win over Portugal. His influence on the field is evident and the excitement he brings to the sport is rarely matched by any other big names in the world’s most popular sport. He will go down as 1 or 2 best to ever play the sport when it is all said and done.
Let’s Talk Today
Ronaldo as of late has been on real hot streak scoring 8 goals in his last 2 club matches. This includes a 5 goal performance against Espanyol, he then followed that up with a record breaking hat trick that jumped him above Messi with his 78th, 79th, and 80th goal of the Champions League which is only rivaled by Messi’s 77 goals who has also had one of the most historic seasons ever. Ronaldo is my favorite player but out of respect I want to go into some detail about Messi and why he could easily go down as the best of this generation.
Let’s make a case for Lionel Messi
Barcelona is one of most successful clubs in the world and the reason is because of one of the world’s best dual threats to play the game Lionel Messi. The Argentinian has put together one of the most marvelous careers and he still has so much more game to play. The Spanish clubs forward has put together a historic season. The 28 year old Messi started his career with the same prowess as Ronaldo but has done even more when it comes to dominating the competition. Through early injuries he has still managed to become the first player to win 4 consecutive Ballon d’Or Awards and 3 European Gold Shoes. His career has also lead to Barcelona winning multiple titles which make his case for best that much stronger.
Messi lead his Argentinian team to the FIFA World Cup final in 2014 eventually losing to the best team in the world Germany in a 1-0 match. His strengths with setting up his teammates as well as putting the ball in the net are main reasons experts sometimes place him above Ronaldo. He makes his team better and puts them in position to win titles better than anyone else in the world and deserves the respect and admiration for it.
Finishing the conversation
If we are talking about pure skill and ability it is hard to go wrong with either choice. Ronaldo is easily the most exciting and electrifying player I have ever seen run a soccer field his skill with the ball is unmatched even by Messi. Messi on the other hand is like watching LeBron James on the basketball court he is simply better than everyone else in all facets of the game. His knowledge and cunning ability to move through defenses with or without the ball is amazing. Messi is a few years younger than Ronaldo so he can potentially be bigger than him but we will see they both have long careers ahead of them and time will only tell. If Messi can stay healthy he will probably go down as the best to ever do it but Ronaldo is the guy right now. Who do you think is the best of the generation? Leave a comment and let me know.
Floyd “Money” Mayweather looks to end his career with the same motto as he started with
We are closing in on the end to an illustrious era. Sports as we know it is going through the changing of the guard and the dynamic of the sports world will discover new champions and new athletes that will set the standard for the next decade or two. That change starts with boxing’s biggest name Floyd Mayweather fighting his final fight on Saturday September 12th against a strong competitor Andre Berto (30-3). This will be Floyd’s last chance to show off his one of a kind skill set that has led to his dominance over the past two decades.
Mayweather has been pretty low-key since the Manny Pacquaio fight in May that grossed nearly $300 million the largest revenue in boxing history. Now that the boisterous champion has reached his final match of his six fight contract deal with Showtime, he now has a chance to tie the great Rocky Marciano who finished his career 49-0. Floyd who goes by TBE “The Best Ever” has the record and legacy to match any fighter you can name. His speed has yet to meet a match in 19 years as a professional. Mayweather’s career complete with controversy and misunderstandings is coming to an end and we should be proud to have witnessed such American greatness.
Now that we have gotten past the legacy of Mayweather, I think we should discuss his business savvy and how it has taught a generation of boxers and young black men how to stand on their own. Mayweather is famous for his in your face bad guy persona that seems to work against him most of the time but his moves in the business world garners much respect. After buying out his contract from Bob Arum for $75 million and starting Mayweather Promotions he has been the biggest money generator in the sport. He is now the highest paid athlete in the world and runs one of the most successful businesses and brands TMT (The Money Team) and Mayweather Promotions in the sports world. His growth in business has reported in him bringing over $500 million in revenue as a prize fighter (this is also a reason of some the hatred he gets). Yes that is a real figure and a young black man from Flint, Michigan is the one who accomplished it all with his family right beside him.
Controversy still in Mayweather’s face
Though his life outside of the ring is far from perfect he still is a representation of hard work and dedication to a craft. He goes into Saturday’s fight with more controversy as rumors of an illegal IV injection May 1st the day before his mega fight with Manny Pacquiao earlier this year came to surface this week. Even though the reports indicate more of a problem with USADA protocol than Mayweather who reportedly took a 250ml IV of saline and Vitamins to help with dehydration, it is just another distraction for the champion to worry about as his next fight approaches. Staying focus through turmoil has been one of Mayweather’s greatest strengths. He faces adversity with the best of them and always come out on top.
Going Out On Top
We have been blessed to see one of the greatest athletes of our generation dominate his sport unlike anyone else. He only rivals Roger Federer and Serena Williams when it comes to dominance in this century. In most cases when the guy at the top is deciding to retire it is because he is old and the younger guys are just a step ahead of him. In Mayweather’s case he is still top bill and in great mental and physical shape but he still feels it is time to hang it up and turn his focus solely on promoting. One thing boxing needs is a promoter who knows how to generate money and with Mayweather out of the picture as a fighter I have some interest to find out if his perfect record will stand the test of time and follow him in the meeting room as well.
The Sporting world will be different come Sunday morning and it will begin the end of an era and true legacy. Kobe Bryant will be entering his final year as well, if you are my age or older this is not an easy topic for you to discuss. Do you think Mayweather will continue his undefeated record or will Berto give the Champ his first loss in his final match?
The tennis champions are pushing to further their legacy
Roger Federer is arguably the greatest of a generation in the sport of tennis. His prowess over the last decade and a half has been astounding and one to cherish. Even as he elevates in age his play is still strong and looks capable of winning another US Open Championship. Federer comes in seeded #2 behind Rafael Nadal who has his own mission to claim his 3rd US Open title. Both are prime for a long push to the finals but it won’t be easy with such competition. Federer takes on Leonardo Mayer in the first round.
Federer once dominated the US open taking down some of the biggest names in tennis on his hot streak 10 years ago. His dominance at that point in his career was one of the most electrifying times in sports. Federer took home 5 straight US OPEN titles from 2004-2008. He defeated names like Agassi, Djokovic, Both Andy’s (Roddick and Murray) and Llyeton Hewitt to win his first one. A stretch of dominance unseen in sports for a long time outside fellow tennis star Serena Williams. Unlike Federer Serena has had continuous success at the US Open. Roger has spent the last 5 years watching the Championship matches at home and is looking to claim his once unstoppable crown. If Federer pulls off another historic run it will put him above everyone for most US Open titles with 6.
Serena comes into this year’s US Open with expectations to take home the Grand Slam for the year. She is the defending champion and has the rare opportunity to win the open for the fourth straight time. Her dominance is only shared by the fore mentioned Roger Federer. Serena has had herself an amazing year after winning the French Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon earlier this year she can claim ultimate glory with dominant performance these next 2 weeks. She has the momentum and health that can put her in a great position. The field will have to take her trophy from her this year and I’m not sure if anyone can.
We just may see a rerun of 2008 when Federer and Serena took the US Open Championships. Both will have a lot of pressure to perform but I think they both will go to the end. I see Serena winning the Grand Slam and adding to one of the most impressive tennis careers we have ever seen. Federer will take the opportunity to knock down the smoking hot Rafael Nadal who looks to be the odds favorite this year. Nadal has also been a frequent in the finals of the US open and he hopes to add to his already respected legacy. The Spaniard has his eyes on his 3rd Championship and after a year plagued with injuries a chance to bring home his first title of the year.
Over the last decade we have been blessed to see 2 of the best players compete with pure aggression and prestige. Both Serena and Federer are representations of an era that showcased so much great talent yet they stood supreme above them all. To have two people be so dominance during the same era is unheard of and will be remembered for years to come in the sports world. The US Open is one the most respected sporting events in the world and we have a unique opportunity to see greatness unfold right in front of our eyes. It will be a long journey for Serena and Roger but I foresee both of them playing for a title at the end of the tournament. I won’t say they will win but I am definitely pulling for them both.
As the Track and Field World Championships in Beijing move forward we have an amazing opportunity to watch one of the greatest of all time and the greatest sprinter in the world at this moment Usain Bolt take on hungry competition. Bolt who has limped through 2015 with nagging injuries has taken all adversity to somehow put himself in position to take home more hardware at this year’s World Championships. On Aug 23rd he took on the best in the world in the 100M including United States on Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin who were prime for the upset this year. With Gatlin running a 9.77 second 100M in the semi-final the odds were for a change up against Bolt.
Gatlin who has dominated the sport the last 2 years with Bolt dealing with his multiple injuries came into the World Championships as a favorite despite never defeating Bolt at his full potential. Gatlin has had problems pertaining to illegal doping over the years has taken the role as the bad guy. That has been the dialog of the Champions good vs bad and it all played out in the 100M race.
Usain was able to withstand his struggles and pulled out an amazing win, a win that looks to be one of his most impressive when you think about the totality of the stage he was on. He seems to step up to the challenge every time there is one placed in his face. He looks to have overcome the adversity 2015 has thrown at him to place his name among the greatest of all time like Carl Lewis by surpassing Lewis with his 9th Gold at the World Championships and 11th overall. He has a chance to stretch that margin later this week.
Bolt started off better than he has in the last few previous races but seem to pull it all together the last 10-15 meters storming back to catch a stumbling Gatlin and winning the heat with a time of 9.79 seconds. This narrowly beat Gatlin by a small .001 second margin. Gatlin who won the 2004 Gold medal in the Olympics has been itching for anther gold after spending 4 years on probation for a doping violation. Still his efforts and great start to the race could not hold off the 6’5 Bolt who darted past him and leaned forward at the last second to take the win.
Usain has already been regarded as one of the best sprinters ever for some time now but this performance has the track and field world excited about the future of the sport. The clean cut good spirited Jamaican story of overcoming is one that resonates with the masses. Bolt will run in the 200M later this week with an opportunity to etch his name into the history books once again.
Other Stories of World Championships
There are several other highlights that took place at the World Championships as well with Shelley Ann Fraser- Pryce of Jamaica taking home the gold with a 10.74 second performance in the woman’s 100M Race. She looked dominate and lead the way the entire race. Jamaica still holds hierarchy in sprinting.
America takes home their first gold medal in Beijing this year with a win in shot put by Joe Kovacs who defeated the 2 time defending champion out of Germany to claim the medal. Also Britain’s own Jessica Ennis-Hall returns to action after having her son 13 months ago to claim the gold medal in the heptathlon. The games continue all week long and I hope you are excited as I am. Looking forward to seeing Bolt go for another win in the 200M as well as the 4x100M relay race.
Expectations are high for the University of Michigan coach
Before I get started with this piece I want to start by saying I am a 20+ year Michigan fan and opinion can either be explained as bias or deserving but that is not really important here.
After years of wallowing along the Big Ten mediocre the Wolverines have taken the step to go and pull in the biggest coaching name in college football since Steve Spurrier returned back from the NFL years ago. Jim Harbaugh comes back after an astounding 44-19 record as head coach of the NFL Powerhouse San Francisco 49ners where he led them to a Super Bowl appearance in 2013. His Niners eventually lost to the Baltimore Ravens but Harbaugh’s coaching prowess continued to grow. Fast forward to 2015 after Michigan spent $5 million a year to bring the top notch coach back to Ann Arbor with hopes his skill will turn into a Championship.
Jim Harbaugh, who is an alumni of Michigan and played quarterback for the Wolverines back in 1983 has a big job to do. Michigan has been a mid-level program the last decade despite a few years of nominal success in between but overall we have been looking at the heels of our biggest rivals, the defending champions Ohio State Buckeyes. Michigan wants to get off the laughing blocks, so acquiring Harbaugh was the first step in doing so. His name alone has garnered national attention from recruits and even brands that want to invest in his future as well as the football program. Michigan signed new team jersey deal with Nike this spring and recently announced a deal with Michael Jordan’s Jumpman brand for the production of their shoes. This attention will only heighten the anticipation for Harbaugh.
The expectations for Harbaugh are through the roof. Jim Harbaugh’s record alone as a head coach on all levels is impressive and the way his players give him every ounce of respect makes it hard to doubt him. There are still a few chinks in his armor that needs to be tended too before we make him the greatest thing walking since sliced bread. Jim Harbaugh, despite all of his success he has never won a championship on any level. He has taken great players to higher levels but it has yet to result in any hardware. Michigan wants hardware and I am sure Jim wants the same but to expect him to bring Ann Arbor a championship this year may be a bit too much.
As a fan I want him to go undefeated and stump Ohio State into the ground this November but as a realist, I understand it will take him a year or 2 to get the type of recruits that will exemplify the Harbaugh personality. He has already attracted some big name recruits from other big programs just off his arrival to Ann Arbor. He will eventually turn Michigan back into the Powerhouse of the Big Ten but fans need to be patient and watch him do it on his terms. The Big Ten has some of the best competition in the country with teams like Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State and Ohio State all looking to keep the Harbaugh attention train under wraps. The pressure gets greater for the Wolverine program as the season grows closer. As long as Jim can focus on the task in front of him I am sure he will bring much success to the program and in time a championship banner to the Big House once again.
My devotion hasn’t changed but I do understand that it is a process to be great. Especially with arguably the best coach in college football heading your rival school, strategic thinking will have to be done to dethrone Urban Meyer from coaching hierarchy. Jim is capable to do so but it starts with building a strong program brick by brick. Don’t get caught up in the hype Wolverine fans but the new era of Michigan football is among us. GO BLUE!
The media seems to be itching for a Floyd Mayweather, Ronda Rousey fight
Society is polarizing, society can be daunting microscope to be under and our favorite athletes and entertainers maneuver through it on a day to day basis. They have considerable patience to put up with the onslaught of misconceptions and misunderstandings told by people who weren’t even there. Lately sports has been top shelf entertainment for the world to bask in. The numbers for events have been staggering this year with the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, NCAA March Madness and the biggest fight of this century Mayweather vs. Pacquio. The popularity of the sports figure has made it simply impossible for athletes who have a high level of success to continue without falling victim to public scrutiny at some point. Some have made careers off said scrutiny such as Floyd “Money” Mayweather who has despite his problems away from the ring has continued to dominate the sport of boxing.
Floyd has a love hate relationship with the media, he takes on the role of the bad guy who does what it takes to win and media gives him hell for it. His past isn’t the cleanest outside of the ring, he served a 2 months of a 3 month jail stint back in 2013 on a plea deal for striking his then girlfriend. That particular incident brings me to UFC Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey a female, who like Mayweather dominates her own sport. Rousey recently defeated Brazilian Bethe Correia in a 36 second knockout that rivals the likes of Mike Tyson. Rousey is also recent winner of the Fighter of the Year ESPY Award where she brought up Mayweather and his history of domestic violence in an interview after the show.
As of late the media has begun to pursue this idea of a woman champion fighting a male champion. As a fan of sports I cannot seem to get what intrigues the media to antagonize something they routinely demonize in other sports. The growing domestic violence problem in this country seems to be on the forefront of social commentary since the Ray Rice video came out last year and the seemingly annual domestic violence cases thrown at professional athletes, NFL players especially. Domestic violence is not only thrown against men as of late with female Soccer Olympian Hope Solo and WNBA Star Brittany Griner both having their own personal problems with domestic violence themselves. The issue is universal and should be discussed but to make it ok for a woman to continue to poke at a man in an effort to get him to react is not only childish but irrelevant to the grand scale of sports.
Rousey recently said she would beat Floyd in a fight without any rules. I have come to the conclusion that she just wants attention from Mayweather and he has done well not to pay her any. But hypothetically speaking, let’s say this Floyd and Rousey fight was to happen what would be the outcome. Does anyone win in this situation? Is this really where sports is going man vs. woman in a battle to the death? It disturbs me that people will entertain this notion but on the other hand cry that there is too much violence in our sports today. You can’t have it both ways you and even if you make the case that she is a champion fighter and it is a much more even fight given both of their statures it is still man vs. woman. Not saying she couldn’t win but would you really want to see if she loses, brutally at that. I wouldn’t at all and Mayweather would most likely look like the bad guy again. Mayweather has been at the top of his sport for 18 years and has fought champion after champion so we are not talking about a regular joe schmoe who works down at the local deli, we are talking the pound for pound best to ever do it. Rousey is a true champion herself but her career is short and still has plenty of women to beat so I think that should be Rousey’s focus. Media also has a responsibility in this and I think they are failing at it. Do you think a fight between Floyd Mayweather and Ronda Rousey would be good for sports or bad? Let me know.
Former NBA big man Vin Baker has hit the news lately speaking on his aspirations to be a Starbucks manager. The 13 year NBA veteran ran into some hard times during his career dealing with alcoholism and managing the amount of money he accumulated over the time he played in the NBA. Famous for his short stint with the Seattle Supersonics where he helped pushed them to the 1995 NBA finals eventually losing to the Michael Jordan lead Chicago Bulls. Vin Baker was a key component in that teams success yet he could not handle the amount of pressure it was to sustain a wealthy lifestyle.
It is reported that Baker made over $97 million in his time in the NBA. He was a 4 time NBA All Star and eventually played for 6 franchises in the time frame of his career. His alcoholism became a larger problem later in his career, after a 2007 arrest following a failed sobriety test. He then proceeded to mismanage millions of dollars with the help of some faulty financial advisors. This seems to be a reoccurring problem for successful athletes who are not equipped to handle large sums of money in their early 20s.
The 43 year old Baker now is training to become a manager for Starbucks. To some people this may come as a shock for someone who generated nearly $100 million in revenue but the fact of the matter is Baker is a father of four and has to do whatever he can to keep food on his families table. A Starbucks manager’s annual salary range between $48,000-$75,000, which depends on store growth and location. This provides Baker a unique opportunity to turn his legacy into a powerful story of perseverance and strength. Vin Baker is not the only former NBA star who had financial struggle and he won’t be the last but his new journey will be one that truly defines his character.