Reporting Paul Gallant
When the Rockets drafted Royce White this summer, most people acknowledged what a huge gamble it was. Diagnosed with general anxiety disorder in 2008, White has an extreme fear of flying. Kind of a problem for an NBA player.
Still, Daryl Morey and company took the chance. They re-did White’s contract before the season so it would pay for an RV and car services on trips. They appeared willing to do whatever it takes to turn the risk into a reward.
But they weren’t willing to put him on the court. White saw no playing time with the Rockets. And on November 13th, it was revealed that White had been away from the team for several days, including a game against the Miami Heat. Houston had intended to send White, along with Donatas Motiejunas and Scott Machado to the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley team on that day.
Ever since then, White has been MIA. We haven’t seen him. But we sure as hell have heard him. The dude has been tweeting non-stop ever since his disappearance. And on Sunday Night, he tweeted out the following:
Those who follow White on twitter have seen countless similar tweets over the past month. Not to mention numerous vague shots at the Rockets for not accommodating him and his illness.
But White has never once given any real explanations for his absence. So on Sunday night, Josh Innes and I called him out. Take a look at the twitter conversation below (starting from the bottom):
White made the tweet below one of his favorites. His response could be paraphrased as saying “Ahh, so you’re saying I’m not entitled to that?”. He has since deleted the tweet. The conversation continued above.
Josh summed it up best: “You make the very vague, fortune cookie like statements that no one understands.”
That would be correct. White dodged the majority of our questions by telling us to “do our homework” or that he “didn’t feel like teaching [us] about mental health or protocols”.
I feel the cause of his disappearance can be simply explained. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo sports reported that White “tried to convince Rockets officials that his anxiety order would be much, much better if they would simply play him in games.” That conversation obviously failed. Days later, White stopped showing up to practice and games, and didn’t report to the D-League.
Coincidence? Maybe…but it grows more doubtful every day the rookie misses work. White may in fact have issues with the protocols in place for players like him with disabilities. But is it possible that White is trying to use his disability as leverage for increased playing time?
Anything is possible. Except this. To believe that the Rockets – who foolishly risked a first round pick on White in spite of his anxiety – aren’t doing everything they can to lure him away from his laptop and back on the court is just asinine.
And that is exactly what White is suggesting.