Royce White was a basketball prodigy and top-ranked recruit coming out of high school. He could have gone to college anywhere he wanted. When transferring from Minnesota, White still had college coaches flocking to him.
He almost went to Kentucky, but ultimately chose to play at Iowa State (for Fred Hoiberg, recently fired by the Bulls). Eventually, White was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 16th overall pick in 2012.
The 27-year old, who struggles with mental health disorders such as anxiety, only played three NBA games his entire career, and none for the Rockets.
“I only want to have one conversation,” White told Amico Hoops via text message. “How I was crucified for being so RIGHT about the mental health topic… and however since there’s been a concerted effort to keep me out of the league because they’re afraid of what I’ll say. They know what I said before was the just the tip of the iceberg.”
That strikingly similar to how many people perceive the NFL treats quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“Let me be clear. I got ALL LOVE for Kap and I respect what he’s done,” White said. “I’m totally behind the spirit of what he’s pushing back against.
“Let me remind you, I held out for mental health policy three months after being drafted and three years before anybody start kneeling for any anthems.”
White is 6-foot-8 and was viewed as a point-forward before they were acknowledged as an integral part of basketball — like players such as Ben Simmons, Giannis Antetokounmpo, etc. White had those type of skills. He could pass, score, defend.
“The difference between me and Kap is he was more tuned into the power of silent symbolism,” White said. “I’m more like Muhammad Ali, an audible type. They knew that… they still do. It’s why they couldn’t let me become Ben Simmons.
That’s OK, I’ve become something even greater. Immortal. I’m the most politically feared athlete of my era and a symbol of transformational success. I took a stand for the greatest social issue we face, for no other reason than it needed to be done.
“If somebody wants to argue that, they should ask themselves is anybody anywhere dismissing the significance of mental health anymore, including my NBA adversaries?
“And it’s early yet. I’m only 27-years old.”