Royce White 's road to the NBA has been an interesting one. And it's a road that White wants to stay on -- literally and figuratively.
The first-round pick has a well-documented case of anxiety disorder that has contributed to him missing the beginning of Houston's preseason camp. His anxiety includes a serious fear of flying, which will be extremely difficult to deal with seeing as the life of an NBA player features almost nonstop travel.
As a result, White is hoping to travel by bus to some road games. Via ESPN.com:
White's fear of flying, he said, magnifies his anxiety disorder. So he's asked the Rockets to let him use a bus for some of the team's extensive road trips. White said he's willing to purchase the bus and assume liability.
Busing to games, he said, is a vital component in the treatment of his anxiety.
White, who missed the team's media day on Monday and the start of training camp in McAllen, Texas, on Tuesday, said he hopes to reach an agreement with the team soon. He said he expects to join his teammates within "a week," if talks with the Rockets continue to progress.
"What it's going to look like is every game that's drivable, I'm going to get a bus for myself," White said. "And I'm going to make that bus feel like home so that there's a level of consistency in a job where inconsistency is very apparent because of the schedule. I'm going to try and level that out and make sure that my stress levels stay low and that my rest is regular and that my meals are regular and that as much as I can, draw consistency from a very inconsistent schedule. ...
"People with mental illness, one of the most important things is that they have that consistency and routine. The girth of (my request) was, 'Can I travel by bus to close enough games?' "
The logistics of traveling by bus could be complicated. By "close" games, I assume White probably means games in Texas or maybe New Orleans or Oklahoma City (about eight-hour drives from Houston). But an NBA schedule isn't exactly flexible with lots of back-to-backs and a certain pace that players have to keep up with. Busing could mean White misses shootarounds, could mean he misses out on the bonding that happens with team travel and could mean complications of getting to the arena on time come into play.
White's request with the Rockets is one of the contributing factors to him not being in training camp, he said. He's working on a plan with the team to figure out a way to make the travel thing work.
A quick look at the Rockets' schedule shows they will play just six games within eight hours of driving. In November, their road games are at Detroit, Atlanta, Portland, at Los Angeles and Utah. Maybe part of White's plan though is to bus between road cities. For instance, the Rockets play back-to-back games against the Raptors and Knicks in December. That's a reasonable drive.
It's a matter of logistics, and the reality is busing to games just might not work. But White has come this far fighting his mental issues, and he's doing what he can to make it work best. Can't blame him for trying.
Grantland made a video of him during Draft day