Author Chuck Klosterman flew to Houston last week to visit with former Minnesota high school star Royce White to talk about his battles with both mental illness and Houston Rockets management. Klosterman received a text soon after he arrived in town instructing him to drive to a Cheesecake factory, about 45 minutes from downtown Houston, where White would be waiting.
Klosterman writes on Grantland.com: "When I get there, he's seated on the outside patio with two associates; one is a large fellow who declines to give his name ("That's irrelevant," he says when asked) and the other is someone named Bryant (who's wearing a faux-vintage 1956 letterman's jacket and constantly checking his phone). The roles these individuals play are nebulous. The 6-foot-8 White is relaxed. He's wearing a backward Obey Propaganda hat, a watch the size of a clock, and shoes that resemble (and may actually function as) house slippers. He's built like a double helix of panther sinew — whenever he adjusts his left arm, the biceps bulges so dramatically that it's distracting."
Klosterman got right to the point during their meeting, among other things taking issue with a National Institute of Mental Health finding that 26 percent of Americans suffer from mental illness of some sort in any given year.
White: "How many people don't have a mental illness? But that's what we don't want to talk about."
When Klosterman asks why, White responds: "Because that would mean the majority is mentally ill, and that we should base all our policies around the idea of supporting the mentally ill."
At last telling, White has said that he plans to join the Rockets' NBA Developmental League (D-League) team next month, and expects to play his way back into position where he can rejoin the Rockets, for whom he has yet to play after being last summer following one season at Iowa State.
White told Klosterman that he could probably play for the Rockets right now: "But what would the effect be? What would I have left at the end of the season? How good would I be for the team during the season?"
Klosterman provides both a Q&A and his analysis of White's answers in the Grantland piece: "There are times when White seems like a brilliant ninth-grader who just wrote a research paper on mental illness and can't stop talking about it. He's arrogant, and perhaps not as wise as he believes himself to be"
You can read the entire story here.
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