Royce White and his issues with the Houston Rockets have been well documented in this space. White joined CNN’s Don Lemon to discuss his anxiety disorder. White announced via Twitter Thursday that he would be leaving the Rockets’ D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, after playing in just 12 games. The Rockets management reportedly had no part in the decision. Don Lemon asked White several times during the interview what he needed from the Rockets that he has not received, and White repeatedly answered “recognition” and “respect” of mental health.
This is my problem with White. He still can’t state what he hasn’t received in order to function within the Rockets org. How are they not recognizing his disorder when they have made arrangements on his behalf outside of what they do for their other players. Much like someone who is wheelchair bound can’t play in the NBA. Perhaps White should consider that what he needs to function is not realistic for the job of a professional athlete in the NBA.
Not because the NBA can’t or won’t address mental illness; I think Metta World Peace and Delonte West both are examples of players who continued with teams while dealing with those issues. Plus, there are several other players who are privately battling mental illness – and by private I mean the team/teammates may know but the fans and public at large aren’t aware- that are currently playing and doing well. But, it seems that with Royce, the nature of his illness doesn’t lend itself to the realities of NBA life. Lots of travel in an 82-game season plus playoffs. He mentioned living in a hotel with the Rio Valley Vipers as not conducive for the stable and balanced environment required for him to thrive. 41 road games means lots of hotels in 29 other cities.
I was rooting for Royce. I wanted to see him succeed. But, I do feel that he’s become unreasonable at this point. If his illness is to the point that even with extra effort, none of these scenarios is working. It might be time to consider a career change where travel doesn’t play an extensive role. That or playing in a rec league.