Royce White thinks the Houston Rockets and the NBA in general want him to just go away.
The Houston Rockets rookie said this in an interview with the Huffington Post, the latest in a seemingly unending series of interviews with various media outlets in which White, a first-round pick in the 2012 NBA draft, casts himself as a trailblazing, truth-telling everyman going to war with Corporate America.
White suffers from generalized anxiety disorder and has become outspoken about mental illness.
“If I was to make an educated guess, I would guess that Adam Silver and David Stern and the Rockets organization, some other owners in the league, GMs want me gone,” White said. “And why do they want me gone? Because business is about convenience. It’s not about doing what’s necessary. It’s about cutting overhead. A lot of times what’s best for us as human beings doesn’t meet that criteria for business people.”
White, who is making $1.6 million this year, hasn’t played for the Rockets this season and until last month wasn’t participating with the organization at all. He refused a D-league assignment, saying his condition made it unsafe for him to play and asking the Rockets to establish “protocols” for managing his illness. A major sticking point was over which doctors would be making the determinations about White’s fitness to play on a given night — the Rockets wanted to use theirs and White wanted to use his. White also fears flying, so he and the Rockets worked out a way for him to travel by bus to games within reasonable driving distance.
In addition to his anxiety disorder, White also says he suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For most of the season, White has been on Twitter and any other medium that will have him suggesting, among other things, that the majority of Americans have mental illnesses and accusing the Rockets of treating him inhumanely.
“I’m a problem because I’m not afraid to say what I think and I’m not afraid to stand alone even amongst the NBA community,” White told the Huffington Post.
The Rockets organization, by and large, has avoided public comment except to say they want White to be successful and pointing out that their ability to negotiate some aspects of his demands is hampered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and the players union.
While White was sitting out, he told Grantland.com he wasn’t playing basketball on his own, except to shoot baskets about once a week.
In early February, White and the Rockets came to an agreement and White reported to Houston’s D-league affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He has played 12 games for the Vipers, averaging 9.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
White’s illness was known to the Rockets before they drafted him with the 16th pick in last year’s draft. He began his college career at Minnesota but pleaded guilty to theft and disorderly conduct after an incident in 2009. He was suspended for the 2009-10 season and transferred to Iowa State, where he starred for one year before turning pro.
At Iowa State, White displayed a dazzling skillset and feel for the game. For a man of his size (6-foot-8, 260 pounds) he has remarkable quickness, ball-handling and passing skills and on basketball skills alone was thought to be among the top five or 10 prospects in his class.
But his health issues scared away most teams, and the Rockets, who had three first-round picks in 2012, took a chance at No. 16.