Royce White, the No. 16 pick of the Houston Rockets in the June draft, is still not at Rockets camp.
The talented and versatile forward fell out of the lottery in part because teams were wary of the anxiety disorder he struggles with.
White has a fear of flying. At times a paralyzing fear. He released a statement on Wednesday saying he would not join the team until a plan was in place to address his long-term health concerns.
What that boils down to is he has asked the Rockets if he can travel by bus to some games, White told ESPN.
White’s fear of flying, he said, magnifies his anxiety disorder. So he’s asked the Rockets to let him use a bus for some of the team’s extensive road trips. White said he’s willing to purchase the bus and assume liability….
“What it’s going to look like is every game that’s drivable, I’m going to get a bus for myself,” White said. “And I’m going to make that bus feel like home so that there’s a level of consistency in a job where inconsistency is very apparent because of the schedule. I’m going to try and level that out and make sure that my stress levels stay low and that my rest is regular and that my meals are regular and that as much as I can, draw consistency from a very inconsistent schedule. …
“People with mental illness, one of the most important things is that they have that consistency and routine. The girth of (my request) was, ‘Can I travel by bus to close enough games?’ “
That could be a challenging accommodation if the drive time would cause White to miss team walk throughs or other events. It’s certainly not something he could do for every game.
White deserves credit here — he is being up front about his disorder, and that’s not easy. Like Metta World Peace, it is people taking steps like this that can help peel away the stigma of people dealing with mental illnesses and how they can fit in society.
The Rockets should be accommodating. As much as they can be. They also have the health of a team and business to balance, so it’s just not that simple.