By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Royce White is back home from playing in Canada. The conversations with him are always deep and at minimum interesting. He has taken up his cause — his own mental illness — and maybe got some indirect support when Kevin Love was one of two NBA stars that admitted to dealing with anxiety issues.

“All the sudden, Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan come out, high profile guys and they say we suffer from some psychological effects, some anxiety. When you see that do you think I told you so or I was ahead of my time?” WCCO’s Mike Max asked.

“Well I definitely was ahead of my time in challenging policy or challenging the NBA system or taking them to task on creating a policy when we discovered that there wasn’t one,” White said. “As far as being ahead of my time in having a mental illness in the NBA I certainly wasn’t. There’s been mental illness amongst athletes as long as there’s been athletes.”

White was, after all, a first round draft pick of Houston who was outspoken about his condition. That leads to speculation.

“Do you think that you’d be playing in the NBA right now today if you hadn’t come forward and admitted to mental illness?” Max asked.

“Yeah, that’s a hard projection to make. I’d say that I would have a good chance of having been in the NBA. But there’s also a significant plausibility, maybe probability that I’d be deep in a psychological crisis,” White said. “And the question is, I think that that prompts is, what are the parameters of psychological crises? Is it what we have seen traditionally ion TV and movies where somebody has totally broken from reality or is it where the results that you are aiming to get in your lie you’re not only not getting but you’re not getting them in a way that you can’t even identify?”

“If there’s a kid, not necessarily an athlete, and they’re growing up and they’re saying I’ve got these feelings and I don’t know why, and whatever it is you went through that led to where you are today, what would you tell them if they feel out of sorts?” Max asked.

“I’d say that if you believe that you may need help or if you have questions about your own sanity, then you should investigate those questions, and you should investigate them thoroughly and with the best information possible, which would probably require you getting medical attention. Which you should’t be scared of,” White said.

“The efficiency of mental health care treatment has gotten significantly high. I mean almost more efficient than any other medical condition. For example, people who have anxiety disorder who seek psychiatric treatment have somewhere upwards of like a 80 percent treatment efficiency.”

Spend time with him for a number of years and you realize he’s become more comfortable with himself; that he at least understands his condition.

“Are you able now, because of experience, to deal with your anxiety more easily, more efficiently?” Max asked.

“I think that in response to the anxiety that constantly emerges in my life I’m better positioned to respond in an efficacious way, yeah,” White said.

“So you can recognize it and you can deal with it much more efficiently than you could at one time?” Max asked.

“Well much more efficiently than when I was 16 and I thought that I was just dying of a heart attack. I mean that was just a tumultuous, head under water experience,” White said.

“Do you care what anybody thinks of you?” Max asked.

“That’s a complicated question,” White said. “I care what people think of me so far as it may be misguiding them or skewing them away from being honest about what they think about themselves.”

“How would that happen though because you’re honest with yourself?” Max asked.

“Yeah, but if you don’t see it that way then it’s easy for you to be dishonest with yourself,” White said.

“Why, you think there’s some people that think you got a schtick going or something?” Max asked.

“Well, for sure. That’s been made transparent by a good number of people who have talked, and even more currently or on topic the NBA,” White said. “The NBA seems to have that position about me, is that I’m just arrogant, I’m too smart for my own good or I’m just being a provocateur. All of these type of castigations.”

Mike Max