Royce White will rejoin the Houston Rockets for practice on Monday in Houston. White and the Rockets have agreed on a deal that will allow him to travel by bus for a huge part of the season to manage his mental illness.
White has suffered from an anxiety disorder as well as panic attacks and obsessive compulsive tendencies for years. He has spoken out about mental health and wants to raise awareness for kids who have it. He doesn’t want to hide from the truth and has been very honest with the Rockets organization and their fans from day one.
Royce will supply the bus that he will ride in for much of the season. He said he wants to make the bus his home away from home to feel comfortable traveling and so that he can focus on the task at hand. He will have to travel overnight on most days but said that its’ “no problem at all.”
“We’ll go forward in a good faith deal between me and Rockets, and I’m totally comfortable with that. We can find a way to get it into writing at some point. We do have a letter between us. It’s an agreement, not in contract form, but those are technicalities.”
“What the Rockets are doing is astronomically appreciated by me and should be by the mental health community.”
“One of the things that I know is this is my responsibility. I had a letdown. In my defense, these things are unprecedented. To travel by way of bus or doing some of the things I did at Iowa State to head off anxiety, it was indicated to me through the draft process, sometimes in a joking way, that most teams wouldn’t allow that.”
“My health is actually great right now. I want to keep it that way. The unknown of the season or the schedule can decrease that health. We don’t need something negative to happen. A lot of guys don’t have a stance to attack mental illness on the front end. Some don’t know they have it until something happens. The negative consequences can come. It’s just too risky.”
“It was at that point the decision was made, I just have to ask,” White said. “That’s why you see Tweets that I had to stop hiding. It’s one thing to talk about my situation. It is another to ask for what I need.”
“I don’t want to make excuses, but it has shown itself a number of times that the perception of mental illness is not friendly. You see it now with people saying ‘he gets special privileges,’ like this is something I’m doing for myself. It’s a disability. Its disability qualified. You’re starting the race behind.”
“I just reached the point I said, ‘The hell with it. I have to ask.”
It’s good to see that White and the Rockets are working together with this difficult situation. The illness that White has is very serious and should always be taken seriously. It’s something that he has to work through and manage on his own. The Rockets standing by him speaks volumes of how great they are with their players. Many teams passed on White specifically to avoid situations like this. The Rockets knew that White was too talented to pass on and have embraced who he is as a person. White now has all the tools he needs to succeed.