Skip to content

Royce White’s fear of flying shouldn’t ground NBA career

Jun 29, 2012, 2:19 PM EDT

Timberwolves White Basketball AP

It was a steal of a pick by the Houston Rockets — Royce White played point forward in college and excelled at it, leading Iowa State in points, rebounds, assists and virtually every other category you can think of.

Yet he slid down to 16 in the draft, possibly in part do to a generalized anxiety disorder. Something that he was diagnosed with at age 18, something that he takes medication for, something he is very open about.

Part of that is a fear of flying. Which is something NBA players do a lot. White was very open about it speaking with Sports Illustrated before the draft, saying he gets very nervous in the hours before a flight.

But Dr. Reid Wilson, director of, told that this is something White may e specially equipped to overcome. He has worked with college football players before on this.

“These are guys who know how to be courageous and determined,” points out Wilson, a psychologist. This ability to focus helps them rapidly pick up the skills to get over their fears.

This makes Wilson optimistic for White, adding that a fear of flying is “a very treatable problem.”

White is not alone with this, either.

“Usually those with a fear of flying are very bright, hard-working, high-energy people, who really do things well,” says Jean Ratner, a social worker who directs the Center for Travel Anxiety in Bethesda, Md. “But they have this one area of their lives where they feel frightened and don’t know what to do about it…

“I give this guy a lot of credit because he’s saying something some men fail to acknowledge,” says Ratner. “If he can bring more attention to a fear of flying and anxiety disorders, more power to him.”

White is going to get past this. And Rockets fans are going to love his skill set where he feels most comfortable — on the basketball court.

  1. 00maltliquor - Jun 29, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    This guy is one of the more interesting players and I’m very curious to see how he pans out in the NBA. In the two games I remember seeing him he kind of reminded me of a poor mans LeBron with less athletisism. 2012-13 season is going to be fun as hell!

    • 808raiderinparadise - Jun 29, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      Poor man’s LeBron? I guess, except LeBron is the best player in the world right now, so thats a HUGE compliment, but he does fill up the stat sheet, I like his game, but if he doesn’t develop a jump-shot, he will shrink in the NBA, maybe he can be a big Rondo. lol

      Irony is he hates to fly and the team he signs with is called the “rockets” !!!!! hahahhahah

  2. slopmcflop - Jun 29, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Excuse me for directing traffic outside of your site, but this

    is a fantastic piece on Royce over at Grantland. I think Houston will be more than pleased with the pick.

  3. thekingdave - Jun 29, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    All well and good about Rockets fans being pleased with the pick, but we need to see Lowry, Scola, and Martin shipped out before we even get to that point.

    • borderline1988 - Jun 29, 2012 at 3:58 PM

      The Rockets have a ton of options here…they have so many assets and tradeable pieces that every time there’s a rumour about a star being traded, you know Houston will be in the mix. Considering how many players they have at the forward position, you know that they’re going to do something…

  4. jjordannba - Jun 29, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    I Like him as a pick to excel in the NBA, The Celtics were looking to get him as a sleeper but unfortunately the Rockets snatched him up

    • ss3walkman - Jun 29, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      Boston needed this dude to guard those SF of the east like Lebron, Melo and Granger. A nice big body to put in front of Lebron especially

  5. Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 29, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Reminds me of Antoine Carr when he came out of college (although Carr was only about 235).

  6. jthammerstix - Jun 29, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    ^ not really that funny

  7. jebdamone - Jun 30, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    dude is such and f’in baller. i would take a chance on him.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2204)
  2. K. Irving (1818)
  3. A. Davis (1650)
  4. L. James (1485)
  5. K. Bryant (1417)
  1. K. Durant (1367)
  2. A. Aminu (1265)
  3. T. Thompson (1242)
  4. M. Leonard (1228)
  5. A. Jefferson (1220)