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Royce White didn’t fly with Sixers to Europe

Oct 4, 2013, 2:56 PM EDT

Royce White AP

Right now, the Philadelphia 76ers are in one of the world’s most interesting cities, Bilbao, Spain. From there they will travel on to Manchester, England, (which is kind of interesting) to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Royce White is not with them.

White battles an general anxiety disorder — which has a number of symptoms, among them a fear of flying — and while he said he wanted to go to Europe with the team the team let him stay, coach Brett Brown told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“It really was just based on our team doctor giving me and Sam (Henkie, Sixers GM) and the club advice that it may be best for him to remain at home,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said of White’s absence. “You know we are with him. We will support and help him.”

This is well handled by the Sixers — is the anxiety and distraction of some very long flights really worth it to have him suit up for preseason games? No.

Every time I write about White the comments and my twitter timeline fill up with “just get on the plane” lines from people who lack either understanding or empathy (both of which are kind of sad). White is battling a recognized mental illness, there are legitimate concerns. Yes, he has been brash in talking about how the league doesn’t help players like him but rather treats them as replaceable parts — and he’s not wrong about that. This can be a cold business. But his style has not won over the casual basketball fan,  and the only way he’s ever really get leverage in this fight is to get on the court and perform well.

We’ll see if that ever happens. In the end, the NBA’s travel-heavy lifestyle and White just may not be able to mesh.

I think the Sixers are handling this well. Give him space and time, have him at training camp and see how it works. Don’t push him into a long flight to Spain.

Philadelphia brought him in with limited expectations, if it works out great if not they save money when they let his contract expire. White is a 6’8” guy with the skills to potentially play some point forward, and he had moments where he looked good for the Rockets’ D-League affiliate (he averaged 11.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists a game).

Hopefully we’ll get to see him in some NBA preseason action this season to start. Then we’ll see what’s next.

  1. ProBasketballPundit - Oct 4, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    I can’t wait until ten years from now when I bring up Royce White and somebody says, “Who?” And then I say, “You know, that guy afraid of flying who never played in a single NBA game.” And then they’ll say, “Whatever.. who cares about him then?” And I’ll say, “Yeah, I guess you’re right. I only care because I was force fed a bunch of stories about him despite his lack of talent, work ethic and rational brain.”

    • spursareold - Oct 4, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      Don’t make the mistake of thinking he doesn’t have talent. He has GOBS of it. Even with his A.D. he was drafted in the middle of the first round. He would likley have been top 8 if he had no issues.

    • khadeemw - Oct 4, 2013 at 8:51 PM

      ur crazy…a guy that lead a big ten team in pts, rebs, ast, stl, and blks had no talent right….6-8 260 pounds with handle and vision is no talent right….be serious…get ur head out of ur anus

  2. pdub923 - Oct 4, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Really? This is weird. I did not see this coming. Color me surprised.

    • cmehustle - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:04 PM

      I sense sarcasm here.

  3. benjamincharlesparho - Oct 4, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Hopefully he’s not afraid of water because of all the TANKING the Sixers will be doing this season. Got em!!!

    • NJgriffNC - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      lmao too good

  4. jameskocian - Oct 4, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Everyone has a struggle, and clearly Royce’s is this anxiety disorder.

    Surely he didn’t do anything to cause it, but it’s a battle he has to wage day by day, and at times I’m sure, moment by moment.

    Inferring that he is soft because of his mental health condition, or that PBT is somehow doing the readers a disservice in publishing news about him seems myopic.

    If stories like this are of no interest to you, just pass them by. There are readers who appreciate articles of this nature.

    I for one am rooting for Royce, that he can find methods, medications, and/or treatments that would help him to live his life to the fullest measure.

  5. kurtiswes - Oct 4, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    good luck Royce…cyclONE NATION is cheering and praying for you! we just wish you would have stayed for your senior season instead of going to play in the d-league.

  6. alexb1234 - Oct 4, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Getting on Royce White because of his anxiety disorder/mental illness is like making fun of someone who has cancer….Royce White can’t help the fact that he has these issues, it’s a disease…. a REAL disease…
    It’s something my girlfriend has and has to deal with everyday of her life, when she gets in a car, when she crosses the street, etc, she has anxiety…I have yet to fly on a plane with her but come December when we take our first vacation together I can only imagine the amount of xanex she will have to take to relax…..
    Moral of the story – leave Royce White alone and educate yourselves on his DISEASE instead of making fun of him.

    • zoomy123 - Oct 4, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      This is true, but unlike your girlfriend Royce White has $$$ and team doctors to help him. This guy is better off than 99% of the people on the entire planet, he has all the resources at his disposal, and he’s still not ever going to play an NBA game. I understand White’s problems, I also suffer from anxiety disorder, but if I had his $$$ and his doctors with the chance to potentially earn hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, my @ss would be in cognitive behavioral therapy twice a week fighting for my chance to be in the NBA.

      • misremembered72 - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:13 PM

        Both me and my girlfriend suffer from anxiety/depression and my dog has AIDS. And we all hope Royce can start living up to his potential, but he’s got to get on a basketball court to do that

      • alexb1234 - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        There is nothing a doctor can do to cure or fix this disease….yet. Yeah you can treat it with therapy but it still effects different people in different ways. My girlfriends parents are very well off financially and believe me if there was a particular type of medicine or treatment she could take to help her or cure her she’d be taking it.

        If anything Royce White is a blessing to people with this disorder because it educates people who know nothing about it. It always takes a public figure to get a disease/disorder in order for people to really start paying attention to it and to donate money to the research for a cure or for people to just understand the effects of a disease/disorder.

        ie: Magic Johnson, Easy E, Michael J. Fox, etc.

        We can only hope Royce White turns into THAT public figure.

      • khadeemw - Oct 4, 2013 at 8:54 PM

        no one cares bro….u cant blame him for the route he is taking…dont act like u can walk his shoes…everyone is different…get off his back and stop making ignorant comments

    • sasquash20 - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:48 PM

      Are you fu#$&^g kidding me? Lay off the weed people if you can’t handle it. Its not a disease, its part of the wussification of America. Stop being so dame soft people. Dude has a slit

  7. sportsfan18 - Oct 4, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    Sedate him… knock his ass out for the plane flights…

    Take the cost of the meds and the doc to watch him while he’s sedated from his salary and end all this crap.

    • sasquash20 - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:48 PM

      I pity the fool

  8. antistratfordian - Oct 4, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    “‘Plan on it,’ White said when asked whether he would be going to Spain with the team.”

    White’s mental illness is now crossing over from anxiety/panic into an area more about control and manipulation – I don’t know what exactly – maybe a form of obsessive compulsive disorder? Probably bipolar disorder as well.

    White flew plenty before – he had to – so he did. But he gets in the pros, gets his money, and now he’s done fulfilling obligations. He’s allowed to get away with this because he can accuse anyone who challenges him of being insensitive. You have to understand that Royce White doesn’t refuse to fly. He just doesn’t want to do it all the time. He said “hell no” to 100 flights, but he’s fine with 50. He essentially gets to pick and choose when it most inconveniences him. He does what so many people in his situation do and that is use their anxiety disorder to get out of things they feel are nothing more than a nuisance.

    This is unhealthy behavior and it doesn’t help any of his fears one iota. Not only that, but it develops new anti-social habits because it’s an endless supply of get-out-of-jail-free cards – and he’ll play that card even for situations that he knows he can handle.

  9. eugenesaxe1 - Oct 4, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Funny how he can’t fly to regular-season games in the States, but he wanted to fly trans-Atlantic for a free trip to Europe…

  10. titansbro - Oct 4, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    Don’t be an NBA player if you can’t handle the travel. I mean, I can’t go in the Air Force if I’m scared if flying. I can’t work on a submarine if I’m claustrophobic. I can’t wash skyscraper windows if I’m scared of heights. Should I continue?

  11. fearthehoody - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    Hit up Madden for his bus. Problem solved

  12. cowboys1988 - Oct 5, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Just get on the plane.

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