The Chicago Cubs have a billy goat. Bill Clinton had Monica Lewinsky. Even Superman had Kryptonite to try and overcome.
Yet none are as complex, or as unavoidable, as Royce White’s anxiety disorder.
When Royce White first appeared in the national spotlight last season with the Iowa State Cyclones, he was thought of as a man among boys. His size and physical gifts allowed him to drive through the lane, shoot over competitors, out rebound and out muscle larger competition, and pass like a point guard.
He had only recorded half of a season in Division I, and was already beginning to shoot up the draft charts. While he was seemingly an absolutely mystery to the untrained eye, White had quite the history following him, from his time at Minnesota to deferring a chance to play with Kentucky due to his anxiety.
His history kept 14 teams from drafting him in June when he finally settled with the Houston Rockets at number 16. Having listed medical anxiety orders about flying, many figured he would be too much of a hassle trying to actually shuttle around to games. The Rockets even deferred from choosing him with the 12th overall selection, rather waiting for him to fall even further before drafting him.
It seems that White has found himself in another predicament. His fear of flying has already started to take away from his NBA career, as he missed the first week of practice with the team due to his anxiety preventing him from traveling. White has been rather serious about playing, though, and has come up with a plan with the Houston Rockets, allowing White to travel by bus for certain games. While the details are still to be released, it’s good to see that the Rockets and White could come to an agreement as to how their athletic rookie could remain a part of the team.
So many teams are willing to give up on players if they don’t think they’re going to pan out in the league. The Rockets have clearly liked what they’ve seen from White in summer league, and want him to be a major factor for this team in the futre, and it’s a great thing to see that support from an NBA franchise in this day in age.
Royce White has his kryptonite, but the Rockets are there to help.