And he shows his gratitude to the Rockets for being the only team willing to take a chance in him by giving the Rockets something no pro team had ever heard of before: A 4 page mental health protocol that he demanded they follow.
Klosterman interviews Royce
Do you believe 26 percent of the league is dealing with a mental illness, or does mental illness prompt those dealing with it to self-select themselves out of the pool? Are you the rare exception who got drafted?
The amount of NBA players with mental health disorders is way over 26 percent. My suggestion would be to ask David Stern how many players in the league he thinks have a marijuana problem. Whatever number he gives you, that's the number with mental illness. A chemical imbalance is a mental illness.
So, wait … if somebody has a drinking problem, is that —
That's a mental illness. A gambling addiction is a mental illness. Addiction is a mental illness.
Well, then what's the lowest level of mental illness? What is the least problematic behavior that still suggests a mental illness?
The reality is that you can't black-and-white it, no matter how much you want to. You have to be OK with it being gray. There is no end or beginning. It's more individualistic. If someone tears a ligament, there is a grade for its severity. But there's no grade with mental illness. It all has to do with the person and their environment and how they are affected by that environment.
OK, I get that. But you classify a gambling addiction as a mental illness. Gambling is incredibly common among hypercompetitive people. The NBA is filled with hypercompetitive people. So wouldn't this mean that —
Here's an even tougher thing that we're just starting to uncover: How many people don't have a mental illness? But that's what we don't want to talk about.
Why wouldn't we want to talk about that?
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. Because they're the majority of people. But if we keep thinking of them as a minority, we can say, "You stay over there and deal with your problems over there."
"I think it's a very true statement. At the end of the day, we all stand on one side of a line, and it's always going to be opposed by somebody else," he says. And then he really goes to the rack. "I don't like to compare myself to other great people.8 But I'm sure Gandhi was insufferable to some people. Martin Luther King was insufferable. JFK was certainly insufferable. Galileo was insufferable. It's always tough to tolerate people who say the things that other people don't want to say."