Sep 1, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA;  Larry Sanders goes up for a dunk during a BIG3 game at Staples Center. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Former Buck Larry Sanders eyeing NBA comeback?

Larry Sanders hasn't played in the NBA since the 2016-17 season, but he wants another shot in the league.

"I think with things shifting a bit, me still young, I feel like I'm in the prime stage, I can definitely contribute," Sanders told TMZ. "I would just love to contribute to a team and help them win and give my knowledge, give my defensive presence and just being able to play basketball.

"That's ideal for me. That sounds like heaven."

Sanders had a pretty solid career with the Milwaukee Bucks from 2010-15, averaging 6.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, but it spiraled downward quickly. He's had his fair share of struggles with mental illness and failed drug tests that kept him out of a job, but now that the NBA is much more recpetive to helping players with mental health issues, Sanders could potentially make a comeback if the talent is there. 

Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love opened up about his struggles with mental health in 2018 during an interview with ESPN and detailed a severe panic attack he had during a matchup with the Atlanta Hawks. That interview changed how many people view mental illnesses and allowed more athletes to step forward and discuss their own struggles with mental health.

Approximately 46.6 million people are living with mental illness in the United States, according to Athletes for Hope, and 35 percent of elite athletes suffer from some sort of mental health struggle whether it be stress, eating disorders, burnout, depression, anxiety or any of the over 200 classified forms of mental illness.

Michael Phelps, Joey Votto, Daniel Carcillo, Delonte West, Greg Stiemsma, Oscar De La Hoya, David Freese and Brandon Marshall are among the many athletes who have opened up about their difficulties with mental illnesses in the past, and many of them also have sought help for their struggles.

One of the players who hasn't sought much help is former NBA player Delonte West. In January, an upsetting video showing West struggling on the streets of Maryland surfaced. West, who is homeless and has known mental health issues, was videoed being beaten up and having no way out. The 36-year-old admitted in the past that he abused prescription drugs and was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

In 2018, the National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA) launched a mental health and wellness program to provide players with greater access to mental health counselors. Similarly, the NBA has transformed its Rookie Transition Program to place a greater emphasis on mental health education.

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. Although many think Boston sports fans are insufferable, Erin tries to see things from a neutral perspective. Her passion is hockey, and she believes defense wins championships. In addition to covering sports for Yardbarker, she covers Boston sports for NBC Sports Boston. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90

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