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Larry Sanders Walked Away From the NBA and $27 Million, and He’s Never Felt Better

9TRAY9TRAY EverywhereMembers Posts: 6,830 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 2015 in From the Cheap Seats
We caught up with the former Milwaukee Buck on his life after professional basketball and how the league failed him.

By: Gus Turner



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Too many people are unhappy with life,” says Larry Sanders, the former Milwaukee Bucks center who, instead of commiserating with his old teammates about the recent end of their brief playoff run, is sitting in a Complex conference room overlooking midtown Manhattan. His hands are about a foot apart, palms facing each other. An audience that includes his wife, two publicists, a team of photographers, and me focuses on him. He looks at the space between his hands: “You pan out—I start talking and rambling—you pan out, you pan out and you look at life and, like, man, this timeline, these certain elements, how we lived for this certain time, and then, all of sudden—boom.”

There’s a story unfolding in Sanders’ head that he’s trying to put into words. “Automobiles,” “electricity,” a three-century era of technological progress that, for him, feels like too much, too soon: “We just exploded in time, and now we’re in this point where we’ve been living this way for, what, 300 years almost, not even that,” he says. “People have displaced emotions, anxieties; they need to create. That’s what we come from. We’d lived that way for 15 million years. Now, it’s this 300-year span, and everyone’s working, unfortunately.”



It’s funny to hear from someone who is just 26 years old and technically retired. On February 26, after playing just 27 games of the 2014–15 season, Sanders left the NBA. He had recently entered himself into the Rogers Memorial Hospital in Milwaukee to receive treatment for a mood disorder, anxiety, and depression—issues which, in the past, he has tied to his turbulent upbringing.

Many congratulated Sanders for making the tough and unconventional decision to walk away, even at the steep financial cost attached to his choice. Others criticized him for the money left on the table—$27 million, to be exact—along with who knows how much in potential future contracts and endorsement deals.

A handful of cynics readied us for the slow, post-spotlight decline, the stories of bankruptcy and drug-related arrests to come.




However, a few months after his exit from the Association, life is still far from over for Sanders. He appears calm and happy, speaking passionately, listening intently, looking closely. He’s traded his basketball goggles for a pair of gold Guess frames, and in place of his signature Converse shoes, he wears black and gold Jordan 1s, size 18. An olive green Supreme Fugazi hat hangs from one of the belt loops of his jeans.

On his right ring finger, he wears a silver and gold ring in the shape of a mask. On one side is the face of comedy—on the other, tragedy. It’s only one piece of jewelry among the many that Sanders is wearing, but it has a notable, albeit brief, history with him:

The night before, he says, he entered into a long conversation with a city jeweler who, so inspired by Sanders’ journey of self-discovery, gave him the piece for free. “It’s, like, a $10,000 ring,” he says, but what its ownership implies is something more powerful than its market value: His story is one worth hearing.


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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, 🤬 , and then you get flowing water. You get fresh water. That’s how I felt it. I felt an explosion of emotion.”

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.

Compounded with the everyday demands of a professional athlete—the physical exertion, the regular invasions of privacy, the endless media obligations—Sanders, who focuses on writing, painting, music, and other artistic pursuits in his spare time, felt that he was creatively drained.


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http://www.complex.com/sports/2015/05/larry-sanders-profile-walking-away-from-nba?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily&utm_campaign=Daily 2015 (Fully Horizon) 2015-05-29

Comments

  • 9TRAY9TRAY EverywhereMembers Posts: 6,830 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I couldn't post the whole article, it's like 8 more paragraphs
  • Breezy_KilroyBreezy_Kilroy Members Posts: 10,500 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If he happy why are people so concerned. Obviously it wasn't about the money.

    You gotta be a strong person to walk away from 27M. Can't take the 🤬 with you no matter how hard you try.
  • Smokey Tha BanditSmokey Tha Bandit NO FUCKS GIVEN Members Posts: 3,779 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If he happy why are people so concerned. Obviously it wasn't about the money.

    You gotta be a strong person to walk away from 27M. Can't take the 🤬 with you no matter how hard you try.

    exactly...
  • its....JOHN Bits....JOHN B Members Posts: 19,830 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Over weed though? He could of went and became a mechanic for 60k a year and I wouldn't judge him...but weed?
  • Smokey Tha BanditSmokey Tha Bandit NO FUCKS GIVEN Members Posts: 3,779 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Over weed though? He could of went and became a mechanic for 60k a year and I wouldn't judge him...but weed?

    he's already paid tho, why not be rich and happy?
  • its....JOHN Bits....JOHN B Members Posts: 19,830 ✭✭✭✭✭
    He can do what he wants but I still think he's an idiot
  • Smokey Tha BanditSmokey Tha Bandit NO FUCKS GIVEN Members Posts: 3,779 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2015
    He can do what he wants but I still think he's an idiot

    thats fine, he's still richer than you and smoking weed while doing it. as long as he isnt out here Jordan-ing his money then should be straight. make some solid investments, stay away from the hoes, cars, 🤬 and he should be ok. money isnt everything to some people believe it or not.
  • Peezy_JenkinsPeezy_Jenkins Sion Guests, Members, Writer, Content Producer Posts: 33,205 ✭✭✭✭✭
    ion think it was just about weed anymore, good for him. ill much rather this than him keep playin and killin himself or sum

    WTF at that screw in his ear tho lol
  • Smokey Tha BanditSmokey Tha Bandit NO FUCKS GIVEN Members Posts: 3,779 ✭✭✭✭✭
    ion think it was just about weed anymore, good for him. ill much rather this than him keep playin and killin himself or sum

    WTF at that screw in his ear tho lol

    cant put a price on your sanity. although, the screw in the ear doesnt help prove my point about his sanity...
  • its....JOHN Bits....JOHN B Members Posts: 19,830 ✭✭✭✭✭
    He can do what he wants but I still think he's an idiot

    thats fine, he's still richer than you and smoking weed while doing it. as long as he isnt out here Jordan-ing his money then should be straight. make some solid investments, stay away from the hoes, cars, 🤬 and he should be ok. money isnt everything to some people believe it or not.

    he's also 6'11
  • 9TRAY9TRAY EverywhereMembers Posts: 6,830 ✭✭✭✭✭
    He can do what he wants but I still think he's an idiot

    thats fine, he's still richer than you and smoking weed while doing it. as long as he isnt out here Jordan-ing his money then should be straight. make some solid investments, stay away from the hoes, cars, 🤬 and he should be ok. money isnt everything to some people believe it or not.

    he's also 6'11

    Can't teach height. He'll be back in the League in a year or two.
  • BetaBeta #FastFamily Members Posts: 65,596 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Props to him leaving the league if the lifestyle didn't make him happy..and no it wasn't bout the weed..

    Sanders was the artsy type of those kind of ppl can't be boxden so that's why he's at complex and we talkin bout him on allhiphop(idk I was bored)

    But nah he just didn't like the lifestyle after awhile and he wanted to express himself. I'm sure he still got enough money and has business ventures. Hes good
  • Smokey Tha BanditSmokey Tha Bandit NO FUCKS GIVEN Members Posts: 3,779 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2015
    R.D. wrote: »
    He can do what he wants but I still think he's an idiot

    thats fine, he's still richer than you and smoking weed while doing it. as long as he isnt out here Jordan-ing his money then should be straight. make some solid investments, stay away from the hoes, cars, 🤬 and he should be ok. money isnt everything to some people believe it or not.

    "He still got more money than you"

    How old are you, 🤬 thot

    the dude who uses the word thot, quotes drake songs and capes for every whack ass artist that has come out of this 🤬 forsaken generation is questioning my age? Really? Im old enough to be your step daddy lil homie. shut the 🤬 up.
  • I_fap_twohandedI_fap_twohanded East Coast Members Posts: 382 ✭✭✭
    Now I dont feel as bad walking out of my 9 dollar an hour cvs job
  • mikelewis2mikelewis2 Members Posts: 26 ✭✭
    I think this is too early, of course in its infancy retirement seems nice, relaxing and liberating. But come back to him in a year or two and see if he feels the same way.

    This reminds me of Michael Phelps when he got sick of being in the water and decided to play golf and lose. After a year he came back and started swimming again.
  • A$AP_A$TONA$AP_A$TON 30 Year Old Version Members Posts: 11,691 ✭✭✭✭✭
    He look like a weirdo version of Tony Allen
  • its....JOHN Bits....JOHN B Members Posts: 19,830 ✭✭✭✭✭
    mikelewis2 wrote: »
    I think this is too early, of course in its infancy retirement seems nice, relaxing and liberating. But come back to him in a year or two and see if he feels the same way.

    This reminds me of Michael Phelps when he got sick of being in the water and decided to play golf and lose. After a year he came back and started swimming again.

    There's also a classic case of a guy who wanted to try his hand at baseball
  • its....JOHN Bits....JOHN B Members Posts: 19,830 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Beta wrote: »
    Props to him leaving the league if the lifestyle didn't make him happy..and no it wasn't bout the weed..

    Sanders was the artsy type of those kind of ppl can't be boxden so that's why he's at complex and we talkin bout him on allhiphop(idk I was bored)

    But nah he just didn't like the lifestyle after awhile and he wanted to express himself. I'm sure he still got enough money and has business ventures. Hes good

    You just wanted to type the word "artsy" weirdo
  • BetaBeta #FastFamily Members Posts: 65,596 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Beta wrote: »
    Props to him leaving the league if the lifestyle didn't make him happy..and no it wasn't bout the weed..

    Sanders was the artsy type of those kind of ppl can't be boxden so that's why he's at complex and we talkin bout him on allhiphop(idk I was bored)

    But nah he just didn't like the lifestyle after awhile and he wanted to express himself. I'm sure he still got enough money and has business ventures. Hes good

    You just wanted to type the word "artsy" weirdo

    Ummm...ok
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