Royce White has an anxiety disorder. He is prone to panic attacks, and he has a fear of flying.
The same could be said of many, many other people.
"Phobias are a lot more common than people realize," said White. "I can't even express how common they are."
While he was talking after a morning practice at CenturyLink Arena, Tyler Marsh, a basketball operations intern with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, walked by.
White turned to Marsh. "Have you got a phobia?" White asked. "What are you scared of?"
Without missing a beat, Marsh replied, "roller coasters," and kept on walking.
"See?" White said. "You can ask anybody."
White scored 19 points for the Vipers in a 114-102 win over the Idaho Stampede on Wednesday night.
If things had gone according to plan, White would have been in Houston's lineup as the Rockets defeated the Phoenix Suns 111-81 on Wednesday night.
Houston selected the 6-foot-8, 270-pound forward with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Since then, he and the Rockets have been trying to find a path that allows White to begin his pro basketball career while managing his anxiety.
It hasn't been easy.
White signed a contract with the Rockets, but wouldn't report because he wanted some assurances about how his anxiety would be dealt with in writing.
The impasse became public and, at times, contentious.
"A lot of trust was damaged on both sides, not that either side was doing it intentionally," White said. "I'm trying to get to the point where there's some more trust there."
That process began Feb. 12, when White made his professional debut with the Vipers.
"It was me showing that I still want to play, and I'm still interested in having a career," White said. "I'm still invested in trying to find a way to make it work."
For now, White is making it work by traveling on the road in an RV while the team flies from city to city.
White's road trip this week began in Texas and took him to Reno for a Sunday game. Then it was on to Idaho for Wednesday's contest and back to Texas.
"It's working good for me," said White, who led Iowa State in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocked shots during the 2011-12 season. "Not only does it take away the stress of flying I actually find comfort on the road. It feels good to be on the road and to think and write and watch movies and be with myself for a little bit."
White can see himself taking his road show all the way to the NBA.
"It's funny, but there aren't many games you can't make it to in 17 hours," he said. "If you're going from New York to L.A., you wouldn't be able to make it, but how many times do you fly back-to-back from New York to L.A.? Once? So, one flight? OK, we'll do that."
In the meantime, White's focus is getting his basketball game back to where it once was.
"Three months, I was off," he said. "And it wasn't like it was three months where I sat back and said let's rehab and let's ice. It was a tumultuous three months, mentally. It definitely took a toll, and I've got to get it back."
Vipers coach Nick Nurse said White is showing some signs of progress on the court. White showed that in Wednesday's win, when he added seven rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots to his 19 points.
"The biggest thing is he was just so rusty after the long layoff," Nurse said. "But we see that rust getting knocked off a little bit. He's a unique player. He's big and strong and he uses his strength well. He's a guy that can attack people because of his combination of ball-handling and strength."
Nurse said White hasn't been a distraction to his team.
"We've had all kinds of unique situations with players in this league," Nurse said. "I've been in this league long enough, six years, to see a little bit of everything.
"We want him to be a pro, and we want him to get on the floor and play and we want him to be a good teammate. So far, he's done all that."
And White has been glad to get the opportunity to find some balance in his life.
"I'm having fun," White said. "I've found that it helps to be really honest and not be afraid to be me. That keeps me really comfortable."
GAME NOTES: Justin Holiday scored a game-high 29 points for the Stampede, who closed to within two points with a little more than 3 minutes remaining, but the Vipers outscored Idaho 10-2 down the stretch. Glen Rice Jr., the reigning D-League player of the week, had 28 points to lead Rio Grande Valley.