MILWAUKEE (WITI) — He quit the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA, and now, for the first time, we’re hearing from Larry Sanders as he explains why he left a promising career with millions of dollars on the table.
“I’m Larry Sanders. I’m a person. I’m a father. I’m an artist. I’m a writer, painter, a musician. And sometimes I play basketball,” Larry Sanders says in a video posted online.
In his own words, 26-year-old Sanders is explaining why he decided to walk away from the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA.
“Happiness is really an internal thing. I know I disappeared for awhile. People wondered where I was. I actually entered into Rogers Memorial Hospital and it was a program for anxiety and depression, mood disorders,” Sanders said.
In the honest video posted to the website “The Players Tribune,” Sanders talks about his struggles with happiness, and the pressures of being in the spotlight.
“There will be the Twitter that says like ‘I hope you go die.’ And the next will be like ‘yo, I love you. Come to my team. Go play for the Mavs.’ The next one is like ‘go jump off a cliff.’ You know what I mean?” Sanders said.
Drafted by the Bucks in 2010, the promising player was given a $44 million contract extension in 2013. He walked away with less than half of that money. His last couple seasons with the Bucks were marked by controversy and drug suspensions.
“Cannabis came later on in my life. And for me it was used medically — that I was having due to a lot of stress, pressure I was under, given my work,” Sanders said.
The Milwaukee Bucks faced the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, February 25th. Outside the BMO Harris Bradley Center Wednesday, fans said they respect Sanders’ decision to walk away.
“Stress will kill you, so if you’re not happy with the job you got, I don’t care how much you make — you should go find what makes you happy,” one fan said.
“Depression is a big thing. So if he really did have depression, it’s good for him to get his life figured out, but it is a lot of money,” another fan said.
In the video, Sanders has one last message for his fans in Milwaukee.
“I wish I could have said goodbye formally to the Bucks at the arena, at the Bradley Center. I want them to know it was never about them. It was never about them or the fans about how they treated me because that was awesome,” Sanders said.
Sanders says he loves the game of basketball, but it’s just not what he wants to focus on right now.