Royce White is optimistic about rejoining Rockets - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Royce White is optimistic about rejoining Rockets

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Houston Rockets rookie forward Royce White is optimistic that he and the team can reach a resolution that will bring the two sides together.

At the same time White, who has been away from the Rockets since last Sunday, wants to do what is best for his daughter, Samone, and son, Royce Alexander White II.

Which means if he and the team cannot reach a conclusion that he believes will help him with his mental illness, White will walk away from the game because he said his top priority is to be there for his children.

"I have a son," White said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. "I have a family. I have a daughter. The importance of having a father is paramount.

"For me I grew up without a father for a good portion of my life. I just wish my dad would have been there, whether he's broke or rich. That for me is why I stand on that so heavily because I understand the importance of them needing me, regardless of the style of life I can give them.
If I allow the health ramifications to come I'm risking my life because we don't associate mental health consequences with fatalities, but we know that that's the case.

"Somebody is drinking to offset the stress from anxiety and they flip their car and they kill themselves, they kill somebody else, that's fatal," he said.

White, who said his decision to leave the NBA if he and the team cannot overcome their problems is "totally etched in stone," suffers from general anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.

"We have a chance here, myself and the Rockets, to not only right this situation, but to just grow together," White said. "We're talking about writing an addendum that addresses mental illness in a specific way, which you have to do, because as much as mental illness is a health issue, it's a very individualistic health issue.

"I know they want to learn about this. I think that's what people are missing here. This isn't a me versus them thing. This isn't us being at-odds thing. This is them being in a new, very unique situation. Them not being totally familiar with the situation has very health-related symptoms for me.

"It's not about the Rockets being blamed. The Rockets have tried to support me, but knowing how to support, is just as important as trying."

White confirmed an ESPN report that he will meet with Rockets general manager Daryl Morey on Monday to discuss his situation.

However, he said that meeting will not produce immediate results.

"It can't be that fast," White said. "We have to do it justice. There's no quick fix for mental health issues, because it's a gray area. It may take more time, but taking more time is the right thing to do.

"The Rockets have been great in saying 'we understand that we don't know a lot here.' The Rockets asked me 'what can we do better or how can we support you?' I've been writing some ideas based on what I know about mental illness and what I know about myself of trying to create a nice, sound protocal to add in there. I'm making great progress."

White said Monday's meeting will help lay the foundation for producing the protocol that will help get him in his comfort zone.

"I think the meeting on Monday is more to settle a lot of things and to clear a lot of things up," White said. "What we did in preseason and what we did when I missed training camp was say 'we need to put a plan in place', but we brought me back while the plan was being put in place.

"In my opinion that was not a wise choice. I think we should have waited until the plan was solid and we had thought out the contingencies and we had made it as fail-proof as possible."

White missed the first week of training camp while he, his agents and the Rockets put a plan in place that would help with his anxiety issues, which includes a fear of flying.

The Rockets allow him to drive to games when it is feasible.

White said the reasons he has been away from the team this time are related to his mental illness.

"The first thing that happened was I had the migraines," White said. "That was in the Portland game (Nov. 3) and I had the migraine there and I had to miss that game.

"Then there were some things that were communicational issues. I never want to blame anybody, because not knowing isn't the same as a malicious act, but it can have negative consequences.
There were some communicational issues for me personally on how I need to be communicated with based on the fact that I suffer from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and I need things to be very organized and very prompt and very ahead of time.

"That you can call high maintenance if you want to, but if you educate yourself and you start to understand what mental illness is about and you look at it as a medical issue, it no longer becomes high maintenance. It's just something that's a reality. I started to continue to have migraines and I had them for about three days. They would come and go. I think that was the start of it," White said.

"I had to tell myself 'what is it that's causing the migraines?' I know that's related to my mental illness, because I can feel myself being stressed and other things like that. Scratching the surface we find other things that are kind of again, not their fault and not a malicious thing, but there's just other things that were going on that hilighted that my mental illness wasn't being looked at as a total medical issue.

"Just for an example, I wouldn't have gotten fined if it was a medical issue."

White said he is not getting fined as long as he continues to see Dr. Aaron Fink, who the Rockets have requested to help him with his anxiety and OCD.

"It was put in articles that I had blown off doctors," White said. "That's what I mean by the nature of the situation makes it ultra-sensitive and I think those things just have to be mended, but that they can be mended

"I've actually been seeing Dr. Fink. I've met with him about three times now. The very first day that they offered Dr. Fink as an option, I did call him. The mix-up was is that did I have to go in physically or not, and that was just a communication issue between the three of us, me, Dr. Fink and the Houston Rockets.

"One of the great things that came from me going to see Dr. Fink is that he agrees that the Rockets are becoming better aware of what mental illness is about and the way that it's perceived, is a great thing."

White said there is a misconception that he is upset that he has yet to play in the regular season.

"That's not an issue and I have no problem not playing," White said. "I sat a whole year at Iowa State. I sat from the sidelines and actually learned a lot of great things from sitting and I've learned a lot of great things just this year from sitting. I was enjoying that.

"Again, I think that the communication is the issue here. When you talk about the communication between myself and the coaches and the front office, it has be addressed how the communication goes specifically for me, because communication is one of the greatest enemies or can be allies for somebody who sufferes from mental illness, especially the ones that I do like OCD and anxiety. Obsessive compulsive disorder is you have to know. You have to talk. You almost have to over talk.

White knows the Rockets would like him to work on his game with their affiliate in the NBA Development League.

He has no problem with that decision, but he is unsure how that will mix with his mental illness.

"It's something we'll have to talk about," White said. "Anything that I do from an operational standpoint you have to consider what it does for me from a health standpoint.
That is something that I will ask that my doctor and their doctor can make a recommendation on. There is no place where you can't consider my illness.

"It's something that's all to be discussed and I can't even predict that," White said.  "I think we're a long ways from even deciding anything about that."

White certainly understands the value for a rookie like himself to play in the D-League.

"I have no problem going to the D-League," White said. "I think that the D-League is a great way for young players to enhance their game and make sure that sitting on the bench and not getting any minutes is kind of offset. I think it's a great thing for the league in general.

"Again, It's not about the D-League. It's not about what the D-League offers me from a basketball standpoint. You also have to think about what the D-League offers from a health standpoint.
Me even getting back to practice is a back-burner issue. Again, I say that at any point where you want to get something right, you have to be willing to take the time to do it."

White said he knows the Harlem Globetrotters announced that what they have to offer might be an alternate way for him to earn a living by playing basketball.

While he is honored by their gesture, White said it is not something he will pursue.

"For the Globetrotters to be paying attention, in one sense it's an honor," White said. "In another sense for them to extend a hand and saying they understand and they want to support is a great honor.

"It's just not being discussed amongst us. It's not something that I'm interested in seeking at this point. I'm really interested in resolving things with the Houston Rockets and getting back on the court and getting a plan in place that not only serves me, but hopefully blazes a trail for other people, not only to get the things they deserve mental-health wise in this work environment, but to prevent the things happening later that always you see happen.

And White believes he and the Rockets can find some middle ground.

"Yea I do," White said. "I think that it's possible. I'm a humanitarian. I believe in Humans, and everybody who is involved here and all the choices that are being made are being made by humans.

"At the end of the day humans, we should be able to figure anything out, theoretically."

White would like to see that happen.

"It's really important to me," White said. "I feel like I still have things I can lend to a basketball team in an athletic way. I want a chance to be able to do that. I want to play.
I just don't want play at the expense of my health and I think it's important to try and solve it. If we can get it done then I'll be able to have both, hopefully.

"It's not Royce versus the Rockets. We're a family. We're just trying to make it right and making it right sometimes is tough and sometimes it even gets nasty, because two sides don't want to agree.

"In the end you usually come to a resolution."

The Rockets declined comment for this story.

On Tuesday Morey said he and the Rockets continue to support White in a statement released by the team.

"We are committed to his long-term success and we will continue to support him now and going forward," Morey said.

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