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This Is What Draft Night Is Like When You Have Crippling Anxiety Issues

  • Dan Fogarty

Royce White, a 6-8 forward out of Iowa State, is afflicted with generalized anxiety disorder. His anxiety issues go beyond the normal threshold of everyday worry: after John Calipari called him to transfer to Kentucky in 2010, he missed his flight due to a fear of flying that triggered an intense panic attack. He canceled his trip, and never signed.

And those panic attacks are intense, as we can see in the documentary below courtesy of Grantland’s YouTube channel. Their cameras followed White for 24 hours on the day of the NBA draft, a day that would make young men without panic disorders sweat. At one point, White’s so shaken by professional uncertainty that he can be seen with tears in his eyes.

The night would end well for young Royce, however: he’d go 16th overall to the Houston Rockets, and the contract he’d later sign has guaranteed him $2.8 million in his first two seasons with Houston, with options for a third and fourth season. Not bad for a guy who once missed a very important flight because of uncontrollable panic.