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NBA player afraid of flying wants to take a bus to road games

October 05, 2012|By Melissa Rohlin
  • Houston Rockets forward Royce White has requested to take a bus to away games because he has a phobia of flying.
Houston Rockets forward Royce White has requested to take a bus to away games… (Brent Lewin / Bloomberg…)

Houston Rockets forward Royce White has a self-described "mental illness."

He has many anxieties, among them a fear of flying.

White told ESPN on Wednesday that he has talked to management about taking a bus to road games instead of a plane.

He said that he hopes to reach a deal with the team within a week and has agreed to purchase the bus and assume liability.

"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?'"

It won't be an easy request for the Rockets to accommodate, considering Royce would surely miss some practices, shoot-arounds and video sessions during the long commutes.

But White seems to be requiring some sort of deal.

White issued a statement through his publicist Wednesday in which he said that he won't join the team until there's a plan for his "long-term health."

"There are often negative consequences to mental illness when not given the proper support,"  White said in the statement. "Often, those consequences are more severe for the surrounding people than the sufferer him/herself. I am not willing to allow those consequences to befall on myself or others close to me.

"It causes me anxiety to know that serious consequences could happen if I do not express what I deal with, or if I am not truthful enough to ask for what I need to be healthy. For me, hiding is no longer a healthy option in treating my anxiety or OCD, so I have asked for some help from the organization to ensure long-term health for myself."

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