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White tells Rockets he wants to travel to some games by bus

Oct 4, 2012, 11:28 AM EDT

Royce White AP

Royce White, the No. 16 pick of the Houston Rockets in the June draft, is still not at Rockets camp.

The talented and versatile forward fell out of the lottery in part because teams were wary of the anxiety disorder he struggles with.

White has a fear of flying. At times a paralyzing fear. He released a statement on Wednesday saying he would not join the team until a plan was in place to address his long-term health concerns.

What that boils down to is he has asked the Rockets if he can travel by bus to some games, White told ESPN.

White’s fear of flying, he said, magnifies his anxiety disorder. So he’s asked the Rockets to let him use a bus for some of the team’s extensive road trips. White said he’s willing to purchase the bus and assume liability….

“What it’s going to look like is every game that’s drivable, I’m going to get a bus for myself,” White said. “And I’m going to make that bus feel like home so that there’s a level of consistency in a job where inconsistency is very apparent because of the schedule. I’m going to try and level that out and make sure that my stress levels stay low and that my rest is regular and that my meals are regular and that as much as I can, draw consistency from a very inconsistent schedule. …

“People with mental illness, one of the most important things is that they have that consistency and routine. The girth of (my request) was, ‘Can I travel by bus to close enough games?’ “

That could be a challenging accommodation if the drive time would cause White to miss team walk throughs or other events. It’s certainly not something he could do for every game.

White deserves credit here — he is being up front about his disorder, and that’s not easy. Like Metta World Peace, it is people taking steps like this that can help peel away the stigma of people dealing with mental illnesses and how they can fit in society.

The Rockets should be accommodating. As much as they can be. They also have the health of a team and business to balance, so it’s just not that simple.

  1. dylude - Oct 4, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    I’d rather deal with this problem if I was an owner than Dez Bryant’s accommodations. Hopefully Les Alexander agrees and works something out.

    The obvious quick response would be to send him to Rio Grande Valley D League until he is ready to fly but I assume Morey is too smart to mess the kid up by doing that.

  2. pl4tinum514 - Oct 4, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    If I’m the Rockets I pay for some serious therapy for the kid and if that doesn’t work I turf him. The whole bus thing is a joke, right? Gimme a break.

    • borderline1988 - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      You’re dead wrong here.

      This is actually a great way for the NBA (as Kurt suggests) and the Rockets to look responsible and make the world a better place.
      Destigmitization of mental disease through the ‘upfrontness’ and accomodation of this player does far more for our society than anything else the NBA can do.
      And he’s basically a walking advertisement for the NBA and its charity initiatives, even though the NBA will never have to say one word about it or draw anyone’s attention towards it.

      At least give the kid a chance. If it doesn’t work out, he’ll get cut (and it would probably be mutual).

      • nbascreed - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:30 PM

        Uh…he had in depth profiling and interviews with all of the teams who were interested. I’m all for it IF he told them about this bus need up front. My hunch however, is that his sly agent told him to keep this a secret otherwise the signing bonus and 3 year guarantee went out the window. The Rockets brass may be putting on a smiley face but they are fuming. I read/heard somewhere that the kid (or his rep) guaranteed all teams that flying would not be a problem. To try to negotiate this post facto is wrong IMO.

  3. spartyon420 - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    It’s people like you that need to just play in traffic pl4tinum514… Dude has a illness, and isn’t putting his burden on the organization. Class act.

  4. paulhargis53 - Oct 4, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    What a stupid insensitive comment.
    I hop noone in your famil has.mental health issues(besides you).

    Jesus, there are some sad, ignorant people on this site.

  5. albertmn - Oct 4, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    If he has the talent to play at the NBA level, wouldn’t you think the Rockets would rather have him do the bus thing, and maybe even miss a game here or there, than to have him not comfortable and possibly never develop into a player at all? The kid is even willing to pay the tab himself. If he was demanding that the team pay for something, it might be out of line. He is just asking for accommodation when it can be fit into the schedule.

    Unless you can find someone from the old A Team. Maybe they can get him on a plane like they had to do on occasion with B.A.

  6. jwayne03 - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    I also have a fear of flying… but after a few Whiskey’s I forget about being high in the sky. Flying is a terrible fear to have and I hope that this doesn’t ruin the kids career.

  7. rockymountainraider - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Lets all just coddle each other and sing kumbaya together. C’mon now “mental health problems”? You mean Alzheimer’s and mental retardation, we all have fears but if you getting offered millions your telling me you wouldn’t try to face them. I never been on a plane dont ever want to, but if someone told me i would getting around 24,400 for every 41 trips i would certainly try.

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 7, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      Wow, that shows a massive misunderstanding of mental illness. Sad.

  8. tomtravis76 - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    There a few spots on the schedule where he could take a private tour bus or a train between cities, but its going to be tough to not fly alot over the course of the season. He is going to have to continue his therapy and hopefully he can overcome this fear one day. Flying can suck a bit by knowing you have zero control, but man it saves tons of time.

  9. shaft1234 - Oct 4, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    If that works,it will show that the rockets are a team that will work on the disabilities of their players. It will be a plus in the community of mental ill this guy needs serious therepy and I wish him well.

  10. rukidnme76 - Oct 4, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    How disappointing, all these comments and not one mention of B.A. Baracus…..just Murdock him…..

  11. giselleisasucubus - Oct 4, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    I don’t see what the issue is. Kid can’t fly, it is a real issue. Let him assume all the burden, financial and otherwise, and let him do his thing.

  12. inbounds - Oct 4, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    I remember watching a show where someone had this problem. It was called “The A-Team”.

  13. b0ngg - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    thats the first thing i thought of too. B.A. always knew Hannibal was going to knock him out, but Hannibal was always one step ahead with the needle.

  14. brokerhenry - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    This fear of flying is real people. I never used to believe it until I was moving my family from Florida to Sydney, Australia. Before boarding, I noticed a guy that looked like he was getting ready to die. Dude was as white as a sheet! After he was settled in his seat, a flight attendant came strapped him into his seat and gave him something. That guy slept almost all the way from Los Angeles to Sydney! Not once did I see him eat anything. Man, I wouldn’t want to be in this kid’s shoes. This fear is real and paralyzing.

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