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“How many kids are getting bullied at school? And then, all of a sudden, they bring a gun to school and then we have something that has tragic consequences,” he said. “By me talking about it, maybe I could save someone else’s life, who knows?”

White thinks that if he hadn’t taken measures to help himself now, he might have spiraled into the abuse of alcohol, drugs or another addiction.

“If I’m stressed out, if I have an anxiety disorder that gets out of control, and I start to do heroin, for example, how dangerous am I?” he said. “So tackling it from the front was important. That’s what I kind of did, to take care of my own health first, but also to take a stand for tackling mental illness on the front end, instead of the back end, when the negative things emerge.”

For now, White has no grand visions of basketball glory. Whether he becomes an All-Star or leads the Rockets to an NBA championship is not as important as confronting his disorder.

“Everybody looks at it like, `Man, it’s the NBA. Anyone would kill to be there,’” he said. “But who would kill themselves to be there? That’s basically the choice you’re making.”


Associated Press Writer Chris Sherman, in McAllen, Texas; and AP Sports Writer Luke Meredith, in Ames, Iowa, contributed to this report.