MILWAUKEE — Larry Sanders, once the centerpiece of the Milwaukee Bucks, is putting his life back together — a process that includes personal reflection and a bit of basketball as well.
Part of the appeal of the BIG3 basketball league is to see a name from the NBA past and go, “Oh, yeah. I remember that guy. I wonder what he’s up to and what he looks like now.”
Sanders played 233 games for the Bucks, from 2010 to 2014.
He was back in Milwaukee in early August, playing for the 3 Headed Monsters as part of the BIG3.
“It felt good to be back in the city, honestly — to see all the development,” said Sanders. “It’s summertime, so people are out. They’re doing stuff on the lake. It looks great.”
When Sanders looks back at his time in Milwaukee, he said he does so fondly.
“Milwaukee brought me in — pretty much adopted me when they drafted me, and I really connected to the city,” said Sanders. “There are so many familiar faces out there that I saw that I haven’t seen in so long, but we connect just like we saw each other yesterday. I feel like it’s a lifelong connection. Every time I come back, every time I see these people, we’re going to be connected, and that’s just amazing.”
If not amazing, Sanders’ fall from grace with the Bucks was eye-opening. Within months of signing a $40 million contract extension with the team, Sanders hurt his thumb in an incident at a downtown nightclub. Multiple drug suspensions followed, with the Bucks then buying out Sanders, ending their association with him.
Sanders said he’s come to terms with those dark times.
“Well, I had a seminar here yesterday, and I spoke about mental health,” said Sanders. “One thing that stood out about me when I was telling my story that I noticed is that God is everywhere. God was always with me. God was with me in my dark times as a child, and He’s been the light for me to get through it.”
These days, Sanders is in school, has a clothing line, and is managing some artists.
“What is next? What in the world is next?” said Sanders. “I don’t know. I might be an oceanographer. I might go to space. I don’t know, but just progressing and getting better.”
Sanders said he hopes to get to town to see a Bucks game next season.
Even though Sanders is only 30, the only players left on the roster that he played with are Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo.