Royce White was able to finally make his NBA debut Friday night for the Sacramento Kings when he appeared for 56 seconds in a 99-79 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
It’s been a long and well-documented journey for him and many Houston fans through his anxiety disorder, clashes with the Houston Rockets’ front office last season, and numerous twitter rants calling out the Rockets’ organization.
After being drafted 16th overall in 2012, the Rockets accompanied White with anything he needed for his condition, which included a bus for him to travel as he feared being on a plane, as well as weekly therapy sessions.
But White didn’t feel safe about the environment, refused D-League assignments, missed his sessions, eventually went left the team, and used twitter to vent about his frustrations.
Now, having experienced what it’s like to be out of the NBA, White sounds grateful to be given the opportunity by the Kings, who recently signed him to a second 10-day contract.
NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper spoke to White after the game Friday:
Oh, yeah,” White said. “It feels a lot different. In all fairness to Houston, they were in a much different position. A lot of things, they couldn’t make a ruling on themselves as much as the league. They had to wait on a lot of OKs and things from people. It was a real complex situation. But it feels very different. Everything’s different. The organization’s different, the city’s different, the people are different, my teammates are different.”
“Are you different?”
“I’m probably the least different out of the entire equation,” White said. “But I’m in a different place. I’m definitely feeling more comfortable with the ability to have a successful career in this league.”
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has labeled White as his “worst draft pick ever”. While this is a feel-good story, there’s still a long way to go for him to prove his worth in the NBA. As for now, it looks like both the Rockets and White are better off now.