HBO Real Sports Reconnects With Mental Health Advocate Royce White

Five years ago, Royce White was seen as a headcase after sitting out his rookie campaign with the Houston Rockets. Coming off of his spectacular sophomore season at Iowa State, where he was the only Division I hoops player to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, he was taken with 16th in the 2012 NBA draft.

Royce White 2011-2012 Highlight Hit Tape

Royce White is heading to the NBA. The national newcomer of the year, All-American and All-Big 12 First-Team pick found out tonight with a group of supporters at the Sukup Basketball Complex. Royce White was selected 16th by the Houston Rockets in the 2012 NBA draft.


The six-foot-eight forward Royce White had a promising future, but his mental health struggles presented unfamiliar challenges to the league. White fought for changes in mental health policy during his short and tumultuous NBA career, but was out of the league by 2014.

Five years after HBO Real Sports’ Bernard Goldberg first met and spoke with White, they reconnected in Canada, where the 27-year-old recently became the scoring leader and MVP in the National Basketball League of Canada.

Royce White’s Reaction to DeRozan & Love | Real Sports w/ Bryant Gumbel | HBO

Royce White was seen as a headcase in the NBA when he came out with his mental health struggles. But now that Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan have joined the cause, White has something to say. #RealSportsHBO Subscribe to the HBO YouTube Channel: Don’t have HBO?


In the segment that airs on Tuesday, May 22nd at 10:00 PM ET/PT, Goldberg learns that White is continuing to speak out about mental health as he has once again found success on the basketball court.

Now, with All-Stars like DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love speaking about their struggles with depression and panic attacks, the NBA seems to be doing more to help players and put out positive messages around mental health.

But when White spoke up five years ago, he wasn’t met with much sympathy.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.