Earlier this year, Ex-NBA player Larry Sanders revealed on the No Chill with Gilbert Arenas that he struggled with anxiety his whole career.
“I started playing ball when I was 15,” explained Sanders. “I fell in love with the basketball culture, I was adopted by it. I was tall, I was fast, you know, I had these attributes that were attractive and fit into the game. But a lot of it, it didn’t resonate with my soul, honestly.”
It became “an issue” for him while trying to “conform to someone else’s standards, said the former first-round pick.
“You know, I like living life on my terms because I can and thrive,” “Being talked to certain kind of ways, kind of that bought and sold atmosphere … I ain’t really like that s**t.”
“I got a family, you know what I’m saying. I got kids … I’ve got to uproot tomorrow and they got to figure it out by the phone,” Sanders explained. He added, “I didn’t feel like a human, I felt more like a product in a lot of ways and very disposable. … it weighed on my mental health.”
Sanders spent five seasons in Milwaukee, three with Jason Kidd as his coach. In a recent interview with Bally Sports’ Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, he shared what it was like under Kidd’s direction compared to Ty Lue in Cleveland.
Jason Kidd was still very much in player mode; he was very concerned about who he hung out with; he kind of felt like he was a player and not a coach and his methods were a little unorthodox and ‘unorthodox’ is more of a lighter term. I would say they were almost inhumane a little bit? He thought that he could push people to whatever limits that HIS mind thought which is good for any coach but, not everyone should be in that position. I think mentally Jason Kidd should NOT be in position to lead. I don’t think so and I’ve been coached by a lot of people and I’ve had some great coaches: Anthony Grant who was a hard nosed coach; Shaka Smart… even my high school coach.
Scott Skiles let people know how he felt and his rules, and he barely talked to you and had his ways about him too, but I think that Jason [Kidd] had a lot of mental things that he should’ve dealt with before he became a coach. Ty Lue? Great. He understood the balance between being personable and being a coach \; he also was a player and successful, but he didn’t let his success spill over to his coaching to where he felt like he had a huge ego. Jason Kidd did that because he had done so many things in the basketball world that he’s just this phenomenal coach already and can do and say anything and treat anybody any old way, and… you can’t. You just can’t. I don’t know if he’s in that position, but if he ever is, I hope he gets help and is mentally in a better place.Bally Sports’ Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson
In a 2021 interview with ESPN’s Marc Spears, Kidd shared what he learned after spend two seasons under former Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel.
“Learn from your mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Surround yourself with smarter people. Another thing I learned is to be able to be a good listener and filter the information that is given to you. Be able to use it or table it without saying, ‘No,’ or coming off defensive. You can give me a great idea and I can say, ‘I’m not ready to use that.’ It might come off to an assistant coach like, ‘Dang, he never takes any of my opinions.’ Now I would say, ‘I hear what you’re saying. I might want to do it, but just not right now.’ To you that goes, ‘He heard me, we are not going to use it right now but we will at some point, “said Kidd.
“One of the biggest things I’ve learned from Frank is he is a great listener and a great communicator. He hears you. He will let you know, ‘Hey, not right now. I’m not comfortable doing that.’ And that goes a long way instead of saying no or that’s crazy.
I hope I’m close. I would love to have another opportunity at it. Being here with Frank, understanding his strengths, and watching him and how he handles different situations is a big key that I’ve learned. Patience and communication is key to understanding where everybody stands. Not just your top players, but the end of the bench.”
Kidd would get another opportunity to be a head coach when the Dallas Mavericks hired him on June 28, 2021, according to NBA.com. Kidd would then help lead the Mavericks to the Western Conference Finals in his first season as coach.