Former NBA player Royce White is leaving basketball behind to prepare for a career in mixed martial arts.
White released his newest book, MMA x NBA: A Critique of Modern Sport in America, on Wednesday, annoucing his transition into the Octagon. White said he thinks he could compete for the UFC's heavyweight belt in the future.
"I'm one of the best athletes in the world," White told ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz. "Among the NBA community, part of my appeal as a draft prospect was my unique size, athleticism, vision and that I probably have one of the 10 biggest set of hands in the NBA. I think all of those things will translate beautifully to the UFC."
White said he has been training for "six or seven months."
The former Iowa State Cyclone is 6'8" and 250 pounds, 15 pounds below the MMA's heavyweight limit. He was named an honorable mention All-American in 2011 after averaging 13.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and five assists per game.
White was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the 16th-overall pick in 2012 but never played a game for the team. He signed multiple 10-day contracts with the Sacramento Kings in 2013 and played three games before being released. He has played in the NBA's Summer League and overseas since.
"I've always been a fan of the fight game since I was young," White said. "I played point guard as a 265-pounder in the NCAA. In order to do so, not only do you have to have great court vision, you have to have great tempo and great footwork. Those things naturally translate to the fight game. I'm excited about it, but more so than anything, I'm excited about learning this thing that I've loved from the sidelines for so long, and applying it."