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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Baker’s Back

The NBA is in the headlines everyday, with top billing going to Kobe Bryant’s impending trial and the Barnum and Bailey atmosphere surrounding it. The Lakers team could turn into a soap opera, a story good enough to be slotted after ESPN’s The Playmakers.

Then there is the King, a.k.a LeBron James, is only 18 years old and in the starting lineup for the perennial basement dweller Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s already penciled in for Rookie of the Year, and other experts have already cast their ballots for Most Valuable Player with his name on it.

The NBA has its good days and bad days in the news. But one feel good story you might not be all that familiar with is the comeback of Celtic Vin Baker.

Baker has spent the past year combating alcoholism. He has spent time in rehab and rededicated himself to a strict workout and training schedule.

A heralded talent out of the University of Hartford, Baker is a former All-Star who skills slowly eroded as his waist expanded over the past four years. He was traded before the start of the 2002-2003 season from the Seattle Supersonics for Kenny Anderson, and showed next to nothing of the player he was earlier in his career. Celtic fans now have a better idea of why.

Despite one’s opinion of the man’s skills on the court, anyone who doesn’t feel happy for this man is less than human.

Alcoholism is disease that often goes unpublicized. After all, the purchase and consumption of alcohol is legal in our society. And you can’t go a city block without seeing the seeing the neon signs of a liquor store or pub.

I am sure we’ve all heard funny stories involving inebriation: incidents at parties, silly barroom conversations, etc. Of course, it all changes when we read in the paper of a drunk driver, or the abuse of the child at the hands of an alcoholic parent.

I am not anti-alcohol, and I am not here to preach. If one watches the news regularly, one can see that the airwaves are filled with depressing and discouraging stories. It’s nice break to hear about a recovery, about a rebound, about a rebirth in life.

Now, Baker is a multi-millionaire, and he might deserve a lot less pity than a homeless drug addict. He had the resources and support to make a recovery, and he had the stern father-like figure of the Celtics watching his back. (After all, Baker is an investment for their business). He sat out the remainder of last season once he went into rehab.

Drug addiction, however, is a demon that is both physically and mentally consuming. Alcoholism is no different. Don’t let anyone fool you. Liquor may be legal, but the abuse of it can lead to a crippling of life.

Baker is back and he looks good. The only thing wide about Vinny nowadays is his smile. The Celtics have a 2-1 record in the early going, and Baker has played a significant role. With the departure of co-captain Wiggly, Antoine Walker, the team will be looking for Baker to make a big contribution.

So raise your glasses and make a non-alcoholic toast: Here’s to Vinny. It hasn’t been easy, but you’ve overcome a lot. There’s a way to go before you regain your All-Star form, but even if that doesn’t come to pass, you done enough to become a star for those who might need some inspiration.