Sanders wants to establish a shelter for battered women in Fort Pierce that will offer three free meals a day. It's one of his many projects. He also builds skateboards that he isn't allowed to ride—per his standard rookie contract—and he buys the parts in different cities: grip tape in Milwaukee, a deck in Toronto, trucks in L.A. He wants to design boards that look like Persian rugs. "I don't get along with guys whose lives revolve totally around basketball," Sanders says. "Someday that rubber ball will stop bouncing, and if you've built your whole identity around it, who will you be?"
Before Sanders can save the women of Fort Pierce, he must first protect himself. It is a Thursday night at Milwaukee's BMO Harris Bradley Center, the Lakers are in town, and a call has gone against him. Sanders stares blankly at the referee and hands over the ball. Then another call goes against him, and he hands over the ball again. Progress, thinks Bucks coach Jim Boylan. Midway through the second quarter Sanders still hasn't scored a point, and he seems uncharacteristically aloof. In the next 13½ minutes he unleashes six stanchion-rattling dunks, and the fans chant his name. He finishes with 21 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and a win. As the seconds tick away, Sanders strides across the court and puts that colossal wingspan on full display. The NBA's fiery angel waves his arms up and down.