Sixers' Royce White downplays his aversion to flying

Royce White never played for the Rockets last season but said a fear of flying was not the reason why. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Royce White never played for the Rockets last season but said a fear of flying was not the reason why. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
Posted: September 29, 2013

New 76er Royce White wants to dispel any speculation that air travel will hinder him from playing for the team this season.

The 6-foot-8 forward, who has an anxiety disorder, said Friday he planned on flying with the team to Europe next week for exhibition games in Bilbao, Spain, and Manchester, England.

"I think the most glaring [misconception], probably, from paying attention to the public opinions has to be that I can't fly," White said. "(A) that I don't want to fly. And (B) that I won't fly by choice."

However, it was widely believed that White's perceived fear of flying contributed to his failure to play in the NBA last season.

White, acquired in a July trade with the Houston Rockets, was the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft. The 22-year-old standout out of Iowa State last practiced with the Rockets on Nov. 10 and played 16 games with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets' NBA Development League affiliate.

"I think a lot of people think that I and the Rockets went through a situation that was really hostile," he said, "and it really wasn't. It was more so a legislation thing . . . and it got really complex and technical."

White said he was unable to play until the situation was straightened out because of the collective bargaining agreement and the league's bylaws.

He said his negotiated travel arrangement with the Rockets was to "fly when I have to and drive when I can." White said that he'll have that arrangement as long as he's in the NBA.

"It just turned out when I finally returned to the D-League in mid-February with Houston after getting the I's dotted and T's crossed, everywhere we went I was able to drive," he said.

Rio Grande Valley's coaching staff did not require White to attend the morning shootaround on game days. He traveled to all of the away games by RV.

The Sixers will hold training camp Saturday through Wednesday at St. Joseph's. They will travel to Spain on Thursday and face Bilbao on Oct. 6. Two days later, they will face Oklahoma City in Manchester.

"Any time you go anywhere new, it's a fresh start," White said of being traded. "If you take away the things that happened to me last year off the court, it would still be a fresh start just being traded.

"I don't like to look at it as a second chance or a last chance. I like to look at it as my first chance."

A self-described unselfish player, White thinks he could add some value to the rebuilding Sixers.

He originally enrolled at Minnesota but transferred to Iowa State having never played for the Gophers. He averaged 13.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 5 assists in his lone season with the Cyclones.

"I look to get my teammates involved," White said. "I really get a personal gain out of getting guys open. That's what I strive to do in the games, and that's what makes me happy."

The Sixers will take 18 players into training camp.

Three players - Khalif Wyatt, Rodney Williams, and Vander Blue - are undrafted rookie free agents. Another player, swingman Hollis Thompson, played last season for the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League after going undrafted out of Georgetown.


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