Royce White Battles Anxiety Disorder, The Houston Rockets, And Now, Fans

  • Joe Levine

Royce WhiteRoyce White’s struggle with anxiety disorder has become Royce White and the Houston Rockets struggle with anxiety disorder, then Royce White’s struggle with the Houston Rockets and anxiety disorder. Now, White may be adding basketball fans to the list of obstacles in his path to having a successful NBA career.

This is a situation that has gone on, and on, and on. Throughout the whole process, just about everyone has been on White’s side as he battles his anxiety disorder.

But as this has dragged on, more and more skeptics have questioned White’s attitude and how much effort he’s willing to put in on his end to make his relationship with the Houston Rockets a working one.

After these recent comments from White to ESPN, there will be more.

“I’d rather tell them on the front end and be honest and transparent and never play again for that than allow me to become one of the stories because I wasn’t able to communicate,” White said.

White has remained absent from the team in a dispute over how the Rockets are helping him confront his anxiety disorder.

“We all look at the stories that happen later and go, ‘Man, you just wish this guy was able to communicate his problems,’ ” White said. “Or you wish somebody would just’ve talked to him and wished that the communication would’ve been there.

“Well now the communication’s there and there’s still a problem, right? That means the problem isn’t us. The problem is the art of the business, right? At no point will I compromise my health in the interest of business.”

Asked if he was sure he would give up his NBA career in the interest of openness and honesty, White replied, “If that’s what it means.”

Now, before I say anything else, I do want to make it clear that I sympathize with White. I’m sure his anxiety disorder is very real and very debilitating. He obviously needs professional help to deal with it and live a relatively normal life.

But at what point does he start holding himself personally responsible for dealing with his issues?

Not everyone who has some kind of disorder (anxiety, bipolar, multiple personality, etc.) has access to the kinds of things White has at his disposal as a professional athlete currently making millions of dollars. Most people are forced to deal with their disorders with little/no help from their employer. They make their own arrangements with what doctors and therapists they need to see. They figure out how to manage their personal and professional lives. They show up to work.

But White isn’t attending meetings with doctors that the Rockets are arranging for him. He’s not showing up for practice in Houston. He claims that the Rockets aren’t living up to their end of the deal.

This may not be a popular opinion, but at what point is White asked to take care of his own responsibilities?

If the Rockets are scheduling meetings with doctors that you don’t agree with for whatever reason, why don’t you find your own doctor(s)?

Why can’t you show up to practices that are in Houston?

Why can’t you even do the minimum and address your issues with the team privately rather than running to the media?

If being open and honest and communicating through this process is so important, why is literally every public statement you’ve made just cryptic and vague enough that no one knows what’s actually going on?

Why are you acting like being in the NBA is a right and not a privilege?

I want to give Royce White the benefit of the doubt and say that the Houston Rockets are not willing to help him. But at this point, I think it’s much more likely that White isn’t willing to help himself. And the longer this drags on, the longer White goes without getting treatment and trying to control his disorder, the less patience the Rockets and basketball fans will have for his dramatics.