Former NBA player Royce White on MMA training and battling anxiety

Former NBA player Royce White on MMA training and battling anxiety

Royce White speaks with Jim Rome – video above

We live in an era now where crossover athletes are becoming all the rage. The likes of Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, athletes who juggled multiple sports at once, are few and far between. Today’s major sports require ultimate focus. Between, seemingly, never-ending seasons and constant time in the limelight, being a star in one sport is difficult enough. The idea of being in two, simultaneously, is near impossible.

Lately, MMA has joined the big leagues as a major sport that requires the upmost focus. But this sport is not unlike the other major four sports having their fair share of crossover athletes. The likes of Brock Lesnar, Conor McGregor and Greg Hardy top that list. But the aforementioned names all came from sports that require a rather aggressive nature. Furthermore, those sports allowed for a relief, of sorts, in a physical nature. But not all sports are full contact sports. Basketball is a very physical sport that requires speed and athleticism but at a different degree. It isn’t hard to believe that former football players would have much difficulty applying their physical aggression to combat sports. It is much harder to see a basketball player, in a sport where being overly aggressive has negative consequences, being able to transition into combat sports.

Former NBA player, Royce White, now joins the realm of MMA. White recently talked with Jim Rome about his transition to MMA after his NBA career. With the growing popularity of combat sports, it isn’t hard to see how White could be a fan of MMA. When talking with Rome, White discussed where he acquired his love for the sport.

“I’ve been a boxing/MMA fan since I was a very, very young child,” White stated.

“As long as I could remember. I came up in the 90’s Mike Tyson era. I first got turned on to MMA probably around 12-13. I caught a prizefighter show. I think it might have been Fedor Emelianenko at the time. Might have caught Cro Cop fighting a few times. Ya know, Rampage. I remember Mirko Cro Cop fought Bob Sabot and, at that age, you’re just thinking ‘why are these two guys even fighting each other?’ And then Mirko knocked him out in spectacular fashion. The discipline in martial arts intrigued me as well,” he continued.

For those who don’t know, White struggled with anxiety throughout his basketball career. It was almost crippling due to his fear of flying and constant limelight being a professional athlete. After his basketball career was finished, White turned more towards MMA. Interestingly enough, MMA was not only a talent White possessed, it also became a way for him to relieve his anxiety.

“So far it’s been a great resource for my anxiety,” White explained.

“Just the training regiment and everything that goes into it really relieves a lot of my anxiety. I just think people don’t understand and haven’t yet grasped, that anxiety and depression, PTSD aren’t going to fit into a box that you can keep in your closet and pull out when you want to. They’re going to be dynamic and a little all over the place. For example: some people get great anxiety from being around people. Some people have to be around people. I can’t give you a better example than that right there just how dynamic the mind can be,” he finished.

During this COVID-19 pandemic. everyone is living a life of social distancing. On top of that we are also in a time of uncertainty. We don’t know what to expect next. We don’t know when this will end. For a lot of people, the angst is enough to make the strongest person uneasy. But through this, we are all managing ourselves as best as we can. However, if we can walk away from this with a better understanding of ourselves, or a better yet, understanding of others then there is a silver lining. For White, finding a training regiment that helps him through his anxiety, and finding anyway to stay positive in this world, well we can all take a page from his book.

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Ryan Sprague