Larry Sanders RumorsAll NBA Players
Height: 6-11 / 2.11
Weight:235 lbs. / 106.6 kg.
Height: 6-11 / 2.11
Weight:235 lbs. / 106.6 kg.
Brad Turner: Update: Larry Sanders is scheduled to play in Drew League on Nick Young’s team Sunday at 3:15 — if Saunders shows up.
Alex Kennedy: Larry Sanders has tweeted that he’ll be playing in the Drew League. See, he’s back to hooping AND he’s already in L.A. Set up a meeting! Two years ago, Larry Sanders averaged 10.3 PPG, 10 RPG, 2.8 BPG starting for MIL. Ton of red flags, may be done with NBA, but he’s talented.
He briefly describes a project that he has in the works: He wants to pair eight different artists to design eight different skateboards to be auctioned off to eight different charities. He loves to skate, a passion which takes us to Pier 62 Skatepark in Chelsea where, on a borrowed board, Sanders cruises around in the concrete bowls, the sun shining overhead.
“I couldn’t function outside of the gym and my studio,” he says. “I couldn’t be around my family; I couldn’t be around anybody else. I was creating from a place of anxiety and fear, suffering. I wasn’t creating from a place of joy or happiness or freedom. Everything I did was pure avoidance.”
When the dust settled, Sanders entered the Rogers Memorial Hospital, a choice he made “to protect myself from myself and, y’know, some other people.” He felt the need to get away from the distractions of the league, an environment characterized by its excesses and misguided self-medication: gambling, drinking, consumer therapy, and the like.
It begins with meditation. Sanders was in the midst of his decision-making process to leave the NBA when he entered himself into a four-day course with an unidentified woman who played the role of his spiritual advisor. “She gave me words that only me and her shared, went through this ritual ceremony, and she just taught me about it,” he says. “It was really helpful.” So helpful, in fact, that it ended up inspiring the decision that stopped one side of his life and started another. “It was funny,” he recalls. “She was, like, ‘Y’know, a lot of people do this and the next day they want to quit their job, or they want to get a divorce.’ Because they say it’s like, y’know, opening up waterholes that haven’t been opened in 20 years. What’s going to come out first? Gunk, worms, crap, and then you get flowing water. You get fresh water. That’s how I felt it. I felt an explosion of emotion.”
Upshaw is a rim-protecting defender that teams yearn for, but they will be cautious because of his baggage. What doesn’t help Upshaw and players like him is the situation of Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders, who signed a four-year, $44 million extension before receiving a suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug program. Sanders was bought out of his contract by the Bucks when he apparently lost his desire to play basketball. Teams dread making major mistakes on first-round picks but Upshaw may be too tempting to pass up given his performance during his short time at Washington.
Former Bucks center Larry Sanders was in Milwaukee this week and, according to some individuals close to him, he still doesn’t have any desire to play professional basketball again. The Bucks bought out the beleaguered center’s contract and will be paying him just under $3 million a year for the next seven years.
You’ve said you don’t want to have kids until you’re out of the league. Andrew Bogut: I kind of don’t want to raise them around this environment because I don’t think it’s a healthy environment in a way for children. Because everything’s monetary, everything’s about money and flashiness and what car you drive. Not to disrespect how other people live, but it’s something that I don’t think is appropriate for children. I don’t think a child should have a Luis Vuitton bag at four years old or have a cell phone at six. That’s something I don’t think is right, and it’s not the way I’ll raise my kids the day I have ‘em. Yeah, it’s an interesting one. I’ll just try to keep my kids level-headed and make sure that they work just as hard as I did to get to where they are. There are going to be no free handouts and I’ll want them to have a normal childhood.
Andrew Bogut: A lot of people think he’s crazy leaving that money on the table, but mental health is an interesting one. I have some friends and family that had similar issues. And it’s a tough one because you can’t see it. It’s not not like a broken leg where you have a cast on and people can feel sorry for you. It’s in your head. And people kind of call you soft and a pussy for it. That’s just the reality of being a professional sportsman. You’re supposed to be tough and be able to fight through anything. But I think what Larry did is an even tougher thing than what most people could do. The time I spent with Larry, he was a really good teammate. I got along with him just fine. He was a young player, I had no problems with him and I really do wish him the best.
You reached out to Larry Sanders to wish him well. What’d you think of his video? Do you think that’s a message that needs to get out a little bit more — that basketball isn’t the only thing that you guys care about? Andrew Bogut: It’s a tricky one because we’re paid a significant amount of money to play basketball and most people that support the game are passionate about it, they’d love to do what we’re doing. So for someone to come out and say that it’s my job, people probably can’t relate to it as much. Which is unfortunate. Because it is, it does become a job after a while. I still enjoy it, I think most people that play it enjoy it, but it has its ups and downs. I think what Larry was trying to say is he doesn’t want basketball to define him, he wants to define himself. And I think that’s when we go back to what guys are doing off the court and all that, you gotta have outlets that aren’t just predicated on basketball because you’ll drive yourself crazy. You’ll get to a point where you retire, and you want to know what happens to a lot of those guys two or three years out of retirement? They get depression and then all hell breaks loose financially and emotionally and socially. So I think he made the right decision.
Since then, there have been various reports about the terms and conditions of the agreement, especially in regard to how the Bucks will pay the 26-year-old Sanders. In recent days, league sources claim the Bucks will use every year they are allotted under the NBA’s “stretch provision.” And that means the Bucks will pay Sanders in annual increments of approximately $1.9 million over a seven-year period. That amount will be applied to the Bucks’ salary cap each season through the 2021-2022 season.
Officials from numerous NBA teams have told me they don’t have any intention of trying to sign Sanders, whom the Bucks selected with the 15th overall selection in the 2010 draft. What’s more, some NBA officials and Sanders’ acquaintances are convinced he’ll never play again in the NBA.
Sanders said he’d started seeing a psychologist after his first positive test result for marijuana, which requires a player receive treatment, during the 2013-14 season. He had torn a ligament in his right thumb and had his left eye socket fractured. He was prescribed Vicodin for the pain, he said, but hated it. In lieu of traditional painkillers, he said, he turned to marijuana. “I’d had a good run of not violating, but after the eye injury, because I didn’t want to use the Vicodin,” Sanders said. “The effects it has on the body — there’s a lot of medication out there that will really [screw] you up. For me, my health, my safety. That’s important.”
“People don’t take into account that we’re all very young men,” Sanders said. “Scientifically, the brain doesn’t stop developing. … A guy comes into the league and it’s nine or 10 years before his brain stops developing, for them to be settled with their true emotions, their cognitive reasoning, their rationality. This is the last thing to develop. But we’re put into these positions where we’re put on a pedestal. But chemically, we’re not even fully developed yet.”
Sources who have been active in arranging care for Sanders worry that the financial security that comes with the buyout of his contract with Milwaukee for “about 40 cents on the dollar” presents a real risk that he won’t seek the treatment he, by his own admission, desperately needs and will fall into a routine of bad habits. One of these sources agrees with the characterization that surfaced in December reports that Sanders no longer wanted to play basketball. “This is an important issue, but Larry is not the person to be the public face of it,” the source said. “He says all the right things, now he has no credibility. You have to ask, ‘Does he sincerely want treatment, or just to be left to do whatever he wants?'”
If he had remained under contract with the Bucks, Sanders still would have been able to draw a paycheck despite not playing as long as he complied with a mental health treatment plan, according to sources. Now that he’s off contract, there’s no structure in place for him. “He could’ve gotten paid, gotten full treatment, support,” another source close to the negotiations said. “But that would’ve meant going to practice, getting coached, being part of the team, stop smoking weed, doing the treatment.”
Sacramento Kings All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins knows Sanders well. The two share an agent and have played together in the past as part of Team USA. Cousins, like Sanders, wears his heart on his sleeve and has a unique perspective on some of the issues “Support is exactly what he needs,” Cousins said following the Kings win over Memphis on Wednesday. “I don’t think a lot of people understand the mental abuse of this whole sport. It’s not diamonds and gold everyday.”
As for Sanders, Cousins hopes that his fellow big man can find his way back to the game. “That’s his personal issue,” Cousins said. “I respect him for being a man about it and admitting to to whatever his issue is. He has my full support. I hope he overcomes it and gets back to playing basketball.”
Sacramento Kings All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins knows Sanders well. The two share an agent and have played together in the past as part of Team USA. Cousins, like Sanders, wears his heart on his sleeve and has a unique perspective on some of the issues. “Support is exactly what he needs,” Cousins said following the Kings win over Memphis on Wednesday. “I don’t think a lot of people understand the mental abuse of this whole sport. It’s not diamonds and gold everyday.”
Andrew Bogut: @Larry Sanders all the best Larry. Enjoyed having you as a team mate! I hope you find peace
Charles F. Gardner: Larry Sanders said he entered into hospital program for anxiety, depression and mood disorders, telling The Players Tribune.
Larry Sanders: I love basketball, and if I get to a point where I feel I’m capable of playing basketball again, I will. I’ve had to make the difficult decision to follow my intuition, and allow myself the space and time to explore my true purpose in life.