Title: ROYCE WHITE ON MENTAL HEALTH, DAVID STERN, AND HIS FALLOUT WITH THE ROCKETS
Date: February 7, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice Canada, I caught up with former first-round pick Royce White for a wide-ranging Q&A about his time in the NBA, the need for a mental health policy, and more.
Former NBA first-round pick Royce White is reviving his basketball career with the London Lightning of the National Basketball League of Canada. The question that his play so far brings up, and one White himself would eventually like an answer to, is why he hasn’t had the full opportunity to do this at the NBA level? With an NBA body and uncanny passing ability, there was enough talent for White to succeed at Iowa State after two years on the sidelines, and then for the Rockets to take a chance on him. But White has generalized anxiety disorder, and with a lack of mental health policy in the NBA, his career at the world’s highest level has, so far, amounted to a small handful of games and a great number of headlines.
VICE Sports recently caught up with White in London to discuss his decision to get back to professional basketball, and to gain some insight into the answer to White’s big what-if. Throughout our discussion, White revealed some of the specifics of what he was asking for from the Rockets—this was about much more than a fear of flying—his discussions (or non-discussions, rather) with then-commissioner David Stern, his philanthropic work in the mental health community, and how he sees change being inspired at the NBA level.
VICE Sports: When we recently talked about your performance in the NBL, you noted that people would write it off because it’s just the NBL. Rewinding to earlier in your career—we’ll go all the way back to the NBA, eventually—you felt the same kind of things were said about your D-League performance. What was that time like, given everything that had precluded it at the NBA level?