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Thursday, July 11th, 2013 at 10:10 am  |  39 responses

Royce White Won’t Fly for Philadelphia Sixers Games


He may be on headed to a different city now, but the Royce White’s problems remain the same — the man refuses to take flights, due to his anxiety disorder. White says he doesn’t know what, if anything, the Sixers can do about this predicament. Per the Des Moines Register: “Royce White is ready to play in the NBA – probably for the Philadelphia 76ers, once the trade from Houston becomes official. But making 100 plane flights during a season? ‘Hell no,’ the former Iowa State basketball star said after playing for the Walnut Creek YMCA Wednesday night in the YMCA Capital City League at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School. ‘One hundred flights would be like if you’re allergic to peanut butter – it’d be like spreading your whole body with it.’ He doesn’t know how the 76ers will deal with his well-publicized anxiety disorder, but his mental health awareness crusade will continue. He wants to play basketball – but only if it’s within the confines of what his anxiety attacks will allow. Will he play? Stay tuned. ‘Anything can happen between now and (the season),’ White said. ‘It’s every intention of mine to play. I don’t know what Philly’s intentions are. I’m just going to go there, work hard and try to earn my place.’ White played only 15 games last season for the NBA Developmental League Rio Grande Vipers after being a first-round draft choice in 2012. He didn’t play for the Rockets, as neither side could agree how the team — and the NBA — would deal with the anxiety attacks that started when he was a teenager. ‘If the trade goes through, I’m excited,’ White said after a 32-point, seven-rebound, seven-assist night during a 121-114 loss against a team sponsored by Coca-Cola. ‘It’s a blessing to play on any NBA team. I just hope I can continue to work with the NBA and the players’ union and whatever team I’m on to help create more mental health awareness. It’s a tough dynamic to deal with. It’s complex, but I’m glad everyone is talking about it.’”

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  • OfftheWall87

    Don’t see how it’s going to be any different next season. Hopefully he’s working to overcome his anxiety and not just deal with it the best he can. There’s a difference. Wish him the best.

  • Jer dawg

    Same song over & over again. I won’t knock him for his disorder because its a real thing, but he’s in wrong profession making millions and not constantly flying on road trips. Catch 22 with this guy. Why not just pay him to stay away and once his contract is up just forget about him. He should just go to college to be a coach.

  • LLC#12

    If I was Royce White I’d give up on the NBA, and get a gig somewhere in Europe, such as Italy or Spain, where their domestic league has next to 0 air travel. If he wants to compete in the euroleague on top of a domestic league, that still has much less flights than the NBA, and they are usually short flights anyway. On top of that, he would probably get paid more.

  • shockexchange

    Royce is more annoying than the Shock Exchange.

  • LLC#12

    At least you wouldn’t have to worry about getting stuck next to Royce on a long plane journey!

  • playa

    Sooo philadelphia won’t pay him for the road games right??Right??!! In fact i think they should pay him only for chosen games,based on their own criterias,im curious how’d that sit with him?

  • Dfrance

    You’ve just outshocked the Shock Exchange!

  • a101lex

    I hope Sixers just cut him so we don’t have hear about this… Do we really need more awareness about anxiety? Yes, we know anxiety is a real issue but it’s very very low on the list of other deceases and disabilities that are in the world. What a waste of a pick.

  • Dfrance

    I’m just about sick of hearing about Royce White. The NBA is not discriminating against him and his disability like he tries to make it seem. He’s been offered a job that he simply cannot perform because of said disability, that is no fault of the NBA and they should not be required to make special accommodations for him.

  • shockexchange

    Ha ha! He totally wasn’t expecting that.

  • LP @ThisisEther

    I’d stay in the league as long as they paid me.

  • RayJr

    Royce can’t even fly domestically in the US so how would he even fly across an ocean to Europe? Maybe he can take a boat but I bet he’d get sea sick bc of that anxiety.

  • LLC#12

    A flight at the start and end of the year is better than 100 during the year I’d think.

  • RayJr

    Why doesn’t he just take a Valium to help him relax and sleep on the flight? A lot of people do it. Your welcome Royce. The check is in the mail.

  • ty

    Put him on a bus.

  • Charles

    Enough of this guy…

  • LLC#12

    I’ve wondered about that as well, also, I think taking sleeping pills before flights is quite a common thing. I don’t know enough about it though, maybe taking them that regularly might be bad for his health or something.

  • Lexluther312

    All these NBA teams are letting him hang around, giving him shot after shot to play in the League, and this dude is acting as if he’s owed this. He has done about as much in the league as I have; dude needs to understand that he’s squandering an opportunity to play a kid’s game for a million dollars. I understand mental health issues are no joke, but get the help you need, grow up, and realize the dream that millions of others would die to have

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    There are pioneers in professional sports, and then there is Royce White.
    I hate to say it, but his behavior has actually been detrimental to the movement he so righteously claims to be supporting.

    Sure, his crusade has gotten people talking about mental health awareness, but I feel like his sense of entitlement and bratty demeanor has actually ruined the chances of future athletes who suffer from anxiety to be drafted because.

    100 flights comes with the territory of being and NBA player. Has been for decades!
    If I’m allergic to peanuts (as he compares), I’m not applying for taste tester jobs at Planters, JIF, or Skippy.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    *because if anxiety was viewed as a “high risk” investment before Royce White was drafted, what is the perception now?

  • TR

    What if Andrew Wiggins had this fear? What would happen? I’m just curious, i dont know. I think the fact that Royce isn’t a franchise guy makes his case different. Hes also really annoying at this point, which doesnt help.

  • shockexchange

    The Shock Exchange assumes there’s a compliment in here somewhere.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    All due respect, if you don’t know what it’s like to have an anxiety disorder I don’t think you have the right to complain about his wanting accommodations. Clearly his talent is at a level where teams still want him in the league. He has every right to request help, the same way other people with disabilities and disadvantages do in their workplaces.

  • pposse

    thats the thing tho..not trying to touch on the subject too much but in most cases people with mental health issues tend to have a “bratty demeanor and a sense of entitlement”…its not just him

  • ayochaser

    I really don’t wanna hear/read about this guy until he’s on an NBA court. I was a fan of his while he was in college and a big supporter going into the draft last year but I had no idea how bad this would be. I understand & appreciate what he’s trying to do but there are better ways to make his cause more relevant. Seeking help or counseling and making an effort to suit up for games would go a long way towards raising awareness rather than basically going on strike.

  • thead

    problem is there is NO solution to not flying. There are no rocket trains from New York to LA. I sympathize I really do, but I do not see any viable solution.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    What up, Teddy? Long time no speak. I completely agree with you. White had/has every right to request accommodations. My issue with White is his behavior after accommodations were offered.

    - refusing to report to his D-League
    - taking to twitter to rant about management
    - failing to acknowledge that the Rockets did attempt to offer individual bus rides when time permitted
    - Complaining about game scheduling and hotel accommodations
    - Claiming he left his D-League assignment with the Rockets’ permission which was later proven untrue

    I have no issues with accommodations, my issue is the way he turned his nose up at the Rockets’ attempts to help, even though he acknowledges that he doesn’t even know what a franchise can do to help.

  • spit hot fiyah

    i think it’s tie

  • shockexchange

    ^ This … “the unkindest cut of all.”

  • Basketball_iQ

    Black ball him already. What If you were the team’s best player? You’re not flying to the next city?
    And let’s not forget, he ain’t practicing for the chance at PT,,,, he wants it given.
    What a joke.

  • TV63

    ANd Here we go again!! Why doesn’t some one just waive this guy? I’m suprised Sixers went for this guy .

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    right, but there’s a difference between pointing that out and being annoyed at him and/or mocking his fear of flying, which is what (most) other people have been doing. It’s really between him and his team–clearly he’s talented enough to remain in the league, otherwise teams wouldn’t have drafted him (and then traded for him).. He’s already stated that he’s willing to sacrifice his NBA career if it puts his mental health in jeopardy and I think that’s pretty commendable.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    sup man! Yeah some of the other stuff he’s done is not defensible, like refusing to play in the D-League. But we should separate that from his right to request–and fight for, if need be– accommodations for his medical condition. A lot of people here are just annoyed that he actually cares about his mental health enough to not do things that would aggravate it, or saying BS about how mental disorders aren’t “real” diseases.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Oh for sure. I think some people are coming down on him for the wrong reasons.

  • bike

    Wonder what happens to the guy when/if he flies. Does he freak out to the point where he endangers passengers? Or is he simply gut-churning uncomfortable? Is he even trying to get over this btw of therapy?

  • KC

    Only in freaking philadelphia!!! are you kidding me in trading for this guy!! So hard for me to remain a sixers fan with continued bone head decisions like these. Hmmm how do we improve them team…… I know lets trade for a guy who won’t even show up for the freaking games and has an illness based on fear and anxiety. Championship!!!!!

  • Sakit

    Royce says HELL NO to trying.
    Whey is he playing celebrity games in Iowa instead of summer league games in orlando?

  • http://porcelaintheology.blogspot.com/ KISSman

    “Hell no!” …you gotta love his optimism about ever beating his fears.

    Unless he plays like Michael Jordan, he isn’t going to find any NBA teams willing to give a roster spot on their team to a guy who can only play regional games. The burden does not fall on the NBA or any team to accommodate him.

    And his example of the peanut butter and him flying is just silly. People can die from a peanut allergy. He isn’t going to die from flying on a plane (even if he has falsely convinced himself that he will). It’s a dumb analogy.

  • http://porcelaintheology.blogspot.com/ KISSman

    Part of me feels your outrage as a Sixers fan, but I don’t think there is any plan to actually win this upcoming season. This scaredy cat is just an expiring contract and a guy we’ll probably just throw on our new D-league team.

    The Sixers better plan on making tickets cheap this season because I can’t imagine anyone paying to see this team.

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