Producer: Nick Dolin
Royce White, the 16th overall pick in last summer's NBA draft, has yet to play for the Houston Rockets. The 6' 8" power forward's absence isn't due to lackluster performance or injury, but an anxiety disorder that, among other things, makes air travel extremely difficult for him, something no NBA franchise has had to face before with such a high-profile individual. Determined to ensure that the club, league and players association accommodate his needs, the Minnesota native refused to report to the team last fall until a “mental health protocol" was prepared and signed by all parties. The situation reached a tipping point Jan. 6 when White was suspended for failing to perform his contract. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, correspondent Bernard Goldberg travels to Houston to meet the engaging and thoughtful 21-year-old for his first TV interview since the controversy erupted. White details the depth of his anxiety disorder, how he copes with it and what he feels needs to be done to ensure he is provided a safe work environment.