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Royce White says he’s prepared to walk away from NBA over dispute with Rockets

Nov 17, 2012, 11:30 AM EDT

Royce White AP

The situation between Royce White and the Houston Rockets appears to getting worse before it gets better. And that’s if it gets better at all, a prospect that’s becoming less likely with each passing tweet and interview that White stubbornly continues to put out there.

The short version of what’s going on is this: White has been open and honest with the Rockets (and the world at large) about his daily struggle with an anxiety disorder. Part of the issue with his condition causes a fear of flying, which by itself is almost a disqualifier for anyone truly interested in pursuing a long-term career in the NBA.

The Rockets organization had planned to help White work through these issues to the extent that was possible, and intended on providing the necessary support to get him comfortable with life in the league. But due to White’s continued, extended, and unexcused absences from the team, the organization appears to be losing its will to deal with White and his issues.

Houston began fining White for his days away from the Rockets, and with the two sides at an impasse, White now says he’s considering walking away from the NBA entirely if he can’t get the support he believes he needs to lead a healthy life while pursuing his basketball dream.


Speaking in an interview with ESPN’s Colleen Dominguez, White said he was going to meet with general manager Daryl Morey on Monday to discuss his situation with the team.

“I’d rather tell them on the front end and be honest and transparent and never play again for that than allow me to become one of the stories because I wasn’t able to communicate,” White said.

Asked if he was sure he would give up his NBA career in the interest of openness and honesty, White replied, “If that’s what it means.”

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to side with White here, despite his initial bravery in publicly disclosing what he’s dealing with. The Rockets can’t provide help or support if White won’t show up or attend team-arranged therapy sessions, and the organization can’t make continual exceptions for White which allow him to be away from the team for random and extended periods of time.

It won’t be great for either side if White ends up walking away from the league; the Rockets are not going to trade or release him, so that’s going to be the end result if White continues down this path. And at this point, by choosing to speak publicly about the issues he has with the organization instead of showing up to try to make it work, White will be the one to blame, and the one that ultimately comes out on the losing end of all of this.

  1. eugenesaxe - Nov 17, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Sounds like the kid just wants sympathy, not help.
    Sympathy isn’t going to help your finances, or your quality of life. De-rump your head and see the professional. And pray another team will risk a 2nd-round pick on you in trade.

  2. ibreathefootball - Nov 17, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    why not just play all of the home games if he can’t travel?

  3. shanelsweet - Nov 17, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    You folks that think he’s throwing his career away are mistaken. He’ll get more chances. There’s not a team on the East Coast who wouldn’t sign him right now and let him hire a limo driver for most of their games. He’s got that kind of talent, and as a rookie, he’s dirt cheap in NBA dollars for several years.

    • eugenesaxe - Nov 17, 2012 at 6:46 PM

      He’s refusing team-paid therapy. He’s refusing to show up for practice. He refused to report to the D-League, where he could play AND avoid planes. He’s outright lying about how poorly he’s being treated.
      The line to sign him up won’t be as long as you might think.

  4. fanz928 - Nov 17, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    That’s immature to say what a dumbass

  5. minnesota32 - Nov 17, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    It’s starting to bother me that it keeps getting reported that his fear of flying is the root of this problem when Royce has repeatedly said that it isn’t about flying.

  6. thelakeshow562 - Nov 18, 2012 at 5:54 AM

    WHAT getting paid all money cant over come flying may be he got one of them dreams like ol dude from La bamba…….. lil Richie syndrome

  7. omniusprime - Nov 18, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Why did Royce ever bother to play in the NBA if he can’t handle flying. At least John Madden was brave enough to fly when he coached the Raiders for years, then he got smart and found a job where he could bus around. Royce had better hope he studied hard and learned how to do something constructive that pays well, otherwise he’s just another dumb athlete turned vagrant.

    Houston deserves to lose a draft pick picking this obvious flake. Now they’ll have to eat their loss and learn the hard way not to try dealing with someone who just isn’t cut out for a job that requires so much air travel. The rockets couldn’t find the anxiety whisperer.

  8. jimsjam33 - Nov 18, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Bye Bye

  9. baymac408 - Nov 18, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    This guy is a j cat!! Why you writing bout him?? He is pathetic and a poor excuse for a (athlete) what a p.o.s. people would kill to be in his position that are way better basketball players then this idiot!! Who is this guy anyway he wasn’t even that good in college! Poor draft class and Royce is a poor excuse for a athlete! F him go sign somebody who isn’t a lil b*tch

  10. rueg10 - Nov 18, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    This guy needs to be medicated. Amazing what continues to pass for news lately…

  11. RUAHORNH8R - Nov 19, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    After reading the majority of comments on here, I actually think I M dumber than I was 5 min ago….
    1- do you really think a few counseling sessions is going to cure someone with this disorder.??? Or he needs to get over it? He may be handling it wrong, but Houston was very I’ll informed thinking this was an easy fix, this anxiety disorder will require medications, and years of intense psychotherapy. My guess is if he hasn’t already made huge strides , this will end badly…
    Good luck to the kid! Anxiety is a MFR

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