Dion Waiters has always been loved [and hated] for his on-court attitude, but now everyone is cheering for him.
Today, Waiters became the latest athlete to pen an article for Derek Jeter’s The Players Tribune where professional and retired athletes get to tell their own stories in their own words.
His piece, “The NBA Is Lucky I’m At Home Doing Damn Articles,” talks about the time he spoke with Miami Heat general manager and Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley. Before joining the team, he had a sitdown with Riley in his office where they had an in-depth talk. Some of it was about a basketball, but most if it was about life. In the heartfelt essay, Waiters talked about growing up in Philadelphia and dealing with the type of stuff his friend and fellow Philly representer Meek Mill raps about.
Both of Waiters’ parents had been shot by the time he turned 12. He lost one of his best friends, Rhamik, to gun violence while he was away flourishing as a basketball player at a Connecticut boarding school. In addition to the darker stories, Waiters also spoke about how playing alongside LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook earlier in his career has motivated him to want to get on their level. He also spoke at length about his friendship with Durant and the time he hit a game-winning shot against the Golden State Warriors and hit his now classic pose.
The thing people are loving most about the piece is how it sounds like it’s really his voice, Philly swag and all.
We gave ’em everything they could handle. We weren’t scared. I saw right away how Kev was playing me, like he was daring me to shoot the ball. I told him, “Bro, I’m feeling good. You see the last four games? Y’all in for a long night.”
We’re talking trash like we’re playing 1-on-1 back in OKC.
Fourth quarter, 10 seconds left. Tie game. I got the ball in my hands with the game on the line, and I already knew what was gonna happen. F*** an overtime, let’s get up outta here.
What’s the analytics on that?
That’s a W.
Then I hit ’em with the pose.
Waiters’ wrote an equally emotional piece last year when his younger brother was shot and killed.
Here’s how people are reacting.