Royce White made his NBA debut for the Kings on Friday night, and for the first time on the professional level, it was something that didn’t involve one bit of controversy or strife.
White has a well-documented anxiety disorder that made (and may still make) life as a professional basketball player a challenge, but that alone wasn’t the reason he found himself out of the league before Sacramento signed him to consecutive 10-day contracts. He was combative throughout the process in Houston, and did more harm than good while speaking publicly about his situation on a consistent basis.
White played just 56 seconds on Friday, and didn’t contribute to the box score. But it was a start, and he said afterward he’s in a different place now, which hopefully will allow him to find a fit in his new situation.
“It feels a lot different. In all fairness to Houston, they were in a much different position. A lot of things, they couldn’t make a ruling on themselves as much as the league. They had to wait on a lot of OKs and things from people. It was a real complex situation. But it feels very different. Everything’s different. The organization’s different, the city’s different, the people are different, my teammates are different.”
“Are you different?”
“I’m probably the least different out of the entire equation,” White said. “But I’m in a different place. I’m definitely feeling more comfortable with the ability to have a successful career in this league.”
The Rockets selected White with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft, and did so because despite his issues, he’s believed to be talented enough to play professionally. Initially, White wanted everyone to bend over backwards to accommodate him. Now, it seems like he may be willing to put some effort into making things work from his side.