‘Happiness Isn’t Behind A Golden Gate’: Larry Sanders Explains Why He Walked Away From The NBA

Larry Sanders was waived by the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, ending a nightmarish odyssey with the center who had already served two suspensions for cannabis, been injured in a bar fight, and dealt with rumors that he had no desire to play the game any longer. But now, after negotiating a buyout that will reportedly pay him half of the four year $44-million contract that he signed prior to this season, Sanders is confirming his desire to walk away in a new video from The Players Tribune.

In the video, Sanders introduces himself as a musician, father, and artist who “sometimes plays basketball” before revealing that he had entered into a program for anxiety, depression, and mood disorders during his time away from the Bucks.

Sanders went on to reveal that his initial idea wasn’t to go to the NBA and that he found cannabis later in life and used it to reduce the stress and pressure that he felt because of his job. He also spoke candidly about his decision to walk away from basketball and people’s perception of his decision.

We all are more than just one thing. In a lot of situations, you know it’s very admirable for a person to take that risk and follow their heart and go after their intuition and their passion. You know, I think for me, it just seemed like crazier or higher risk because of my higher-paying [higher] profile job. I think this is seen to be a desirable lucrative job and position, so people say how could you be unhappy there? How could that be a place that you don’t want to be?

You know, values and the relationship with the people I love around me, that’s like my real riches, you know? That’s my lasting wealth. I understand that it’s not what fuels happiness, happiness isn’t behind a golden gate. Happiness is really an internal thing. You know, everyone wants to compare paths.

As for if we’ll ever see Sanders on a basketball court again, he doesn’t seem willing to close the door completely as he heads off toward the great whatever. But with mediocre career numbers, and this controversial and pricey exit from the NBA after a history of substance abuse policy violations, it’s hard to believe that Sanders’ on-court potential could be enough to entice another team to pay big money for his services.

(Source: The Players Tribune)