The Houston Rockets will meet with rookie forward Royce White on Monday to work out issues regarding his anxiety disorder
9:40PM EST November 18. 2012 – Amid so much recent discord about the mental health of Houston Rockets rookie forward Royce White, the 21-year-old will have a badly-needed sitdown with his boss Monday.
It has been a nightmarish start to their complicated relationship — nearly two weeks of absences, countless tweets and so much frustration building on the part of team officials and the rookie forward, whose anxiety disorder is already threatening to derail his NBA career
White — who has said he struggles from obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety — will meet with Rockets general manager Daryl Morey with the hopes of improving their plan to handle the rookie’s mental health issues. That includes White’s fear of flying. The meeting was confirmed by a person with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The Rockets were well aware of the medical background when they drafted White 16th overall out of Iowa State in June. But the fear of flying that has received so much of the attention in his story is no longer the primary concern.
From the way his therapy is being handled to a lack of leniency when it comes to missing practices or games, White is unhappy with what he has characterized as “inconsistent” support from the team and has made it clear he is prepared to walk away from basketball unless the environment is more conducive to his mental health.
The Rockets, who owe White a combined $2.3 million for the first two guaranteed seasons of his contract, appear committed to finding a solution and have given no indication that they might cut him. White’s prolific Twitter usage has earned him praise as a mental health advocate and criticism for being counterproductive as it relates to his worsening work situation.
“I’m very optimistic the @HoustonRockets and I can work this out,” White wrote in a tweet Saturday. “it may be HARD, it make take TIme, but it can be done. #Hopeful”
White has not been with the team since Nov. 9, when he made the drive from Houston to Memphis and back in an RV while the rest of the team traveled via charter plane. He since he has missed five games and all team practices while openly criticizing the Rockets on Twitter for disciplining him in the process.
The Rockets have said little but Morey issued a statement Tuesday that read: “We are committed to his long term success and we will continue to support him now and going forward.”
According to the tweets, White had preferred to meet with his personal therapist with whom he had worked for years. Instead, he is being fined for not meeting with the team-designated therapist, Aaron Fink of Baylor College of Medicine. The person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports that White is not being prohibited from seeing the expert of his choice, but that his visits with Fink are considered mandatory.
In an interview with Fox 26 in Houston that was published Sunday, White said he views his absences from games and practices as a medical issue that should not warrant discipline.
White missed Rockets media day in Houston on Oct. 1, then missed the portion of the team’s training camp that took place in McAllen, Texas, despite being allowed to make the six-hour trip by RV rather than fly. After joining the team in Memphis on Nov. 9, he missed home games against the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat and New Orleans Hornets.
Contributing: Jeff Zillgitt