After failing to report to the Rockets earlier this season as he fought to get the team to establish a mental health protocol, Royce White has been reinstated by the Rockets and is expected to report to the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers on February 11th. Still, while the saga appears headed in the right direction at the moment, White still has plenty of opinions on the NBA's treatment of mental illness, and provides some very interesting quotes in a conversation with Grantland's Chuck Klosterman. The entire piece is worth a read, but here are a few of the highlights:
- According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 26% of Americans over age 18 suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year, but White believes the amount of NBA players with some form of mental illness is "way over 26%."
- In our recent poll asking whether the Rockets' selection of White was worth the risk, about two-thirds of you said no. GM Daryl Morey seems to disagree with the majority, pointing out to Klosterman that only about 20% of players drafted 16th overall have major NBA careers anyway.
- White hasn't been playing much basketball since being drafted by the Rockets. "I work out very sparingly, to be honest," White said. "I probably shoot once a week."
- White wants his own personal doctor to make the final decisions on his health rather than the Rockets' doctors, and believes that's a right every player should have: "It's a conflict of interest to have the team doctor paid by the team. What we need is a doctor who can look at a situation and say, 'Listen, I know the team wants you to do this, and I know their doctor is saying you should do this. But as a non-biased doctor with no interest in how you perform athletically, I recommend differently.' Right now, you have players pushing themselves back in three weeks who have three-month injuries."
- If he were to join the Rockets immediately, White believes he could play for the team the rest of the season and handle the travel demands, but potentially at a cost. "I probably could do it," White said. "But what would the effect be? What would I have left at the end of the season? How good would I be for the team during the season?"