Baker pleads not guilty to drunken driving in Connecticut

Updated: July 17, 2007, 7:29 PM ET
Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Former NBA All-Star Vin Baker, whose 14-year career was marred by bouts of depression and alcoholism, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to drunken driving.

Baker, 35, appeared briefly in Norwich Superior Court, then left through a back entrance to avoid photographers.

It was one more public stumble for one of Connecticut's favorite sons, who was an All-State player at Old Saybrook High before breaking nearly every scoring record at the University of Hartford.

"We're working with him to get him back on track," Baker's agent, Charles Grantham, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "It's a difficult time but we'll get it back together."

Grantham said he couldn't comment on the legal case. Baker's lawyer James Spallone declined comment Tuesday, and Baker didn't speak in court.

Baker, who lives in Durham, was spotted driving erratically after leaving Foxwoods Resort Casino on June 19, according to a state police report. He failed a sobriety test and was charged with driving while impaired, police said.

State police described Baker's demeanor as cooperative.

A four-time All-Star forward, Baker averaged 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds. The 6-foot-11 forward was a member of the U.S. gold medal-winning Olympic team in 2000 and enjoyed his best seasons with Milwaukee and Seattle.

Baker's alcoholism forced the Boston Celtics to cut him midway through the 2003-04 season. He later admitted drinking in his hotel room after playing poorly and showing up to practice with alcohol on his breath.

He also played for New York, Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers before being released by Minnesota six games into the 2006-07 season.

He is due back in court Aug. 9.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE