Royce White’s fear of flying shouldn’t ground NBA career

10 Comments

It was a steal of a pick by the Houston Rockets — Royce White played point forward in college and excelled at it, leading Iowa State in points, rebounds, assists and virtually every other category you can think of.

Yet he slid down to 16 in the draft, possibly in part do to a generalized anxiety disorder. Something that he was diagnosed with at age 18, something that he takes medication for, something he is very open about.

Part of that is a fear of flying. Which is something NBA players do a lot. White was very open about it speaking with Sports Illustrated before the draft, saying he gets very nervous in the hours before a flight.

But Dr. Reid Wilson, director of anxieties.com, told MSNBC.com that this is something White may e specially equipped to overcome. He has worked with college football players before on this.

“These are guys who know how to be courageous and determined,” points out Wilson, a psychologist. This ability to focus helps them rapidly pick up the skills to get over their fears.

This makes Wilson optimistic for White, adding that a fear of flying is “a very treatable problem.”

White is not alone with this, either.

“Usually those with a fear of flying are very bright, hard-working, high-energy people, who really do things well,” says Jean Ratner, a social worker who directs the Center for Travel Anxiety in Bethesda, Md. “But they have this one area of their lives where they feel frightened and don’t know what to do about it…

“I give this guy a lot of credit because he’s saying something some men fail to acknowledge,” says Ratner. “If he can bring more attention to a fear of flying and anxiety disorders, more power to him.”

White is going to get past this. And Rockets fans are going to love his skill set where he feels most comfortable — on the basketball court.