It is said that if you practice a skill for 10,000 hours you will master it. Perhaps, if you do that for the game of basketball, and you also happen to be tall and talented, then you are likely going to be as skillful as Dion Waiters. A Shooting guard, Dion was one of the most highly-prized recruits going into the NBA Draft of 2012 and he has since established himself as one of the most talented and toughest playmakers in the league.
In a career spanning eight years, Waiters has received some noteworthy accolades. He has also played for several teams, including Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, and has garnered a reputation as somewhat of a journeyman. Even though the shooting guard is yet to win the NBA trophy, he remains optimistic and is focused on making his mark in the league.
Going Back to Where it all Began
A lot of players see basketball as a means to an end, a way out of poverty, but for Dion Waiters, he genuinely loves the sport just for what it is and it showed right from his childhood. Despite losing his father, Dion Waiters Sr., to the penitentiary system, at the time of his birth and getting raised by his mother, Monique Brown, Dion simply spent most of his time playing basketball.
The Miami Heat shooting guard, who was born on December 10, 1991, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania made basketball his life. His high school B-ball career saw him get ranked as the number 2 Best Shooting Guard in the ESPN 100, 15th overall best recruit by ESPNU and 29th best overall recruit by Rivals.com.
At college, where most players have the last chance of impressing NBA teams before the door is shut and they give up on a professional basketball career, Waiters played for Syracuse for two years and secured a fourth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. His short but fulfilling college career saw him average 6.6 points, 1.5 assists per game in his freshman season, and 12.6 points, 2.5 assists per game in his sophomore season. It was his sophomore season that rolled in the accolades and national recognition with awards such as Big East Sixth Man of the Year, AP Honorable Mention All-American.
A Breakdown of His NBA Odyssey
Dion Waiters’ professional career has seen him set several personal records and maintain double-digit points per game ratio despite having played over 300 games and barely starting half of them. He has also received some individual accolades starting with his rookie season of 2012.
His Three-year Stint at Cleveland Cavaliers
Dion Waiters was drafted 4th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012. They placed him on a two-year contract and he went on to have an impressive rookie season. Despite being plagued by injuries that made him miss about 21 games, the player still averaged 14.7 points, 3.0 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game. He was graded as the fourth-best overall rookie by NBA.com and placed fifth in the voting competition for the NBA Rookie of the Year. He was also named to the NBA All-Rookie first team and this convinced his team that they had a real talent on their hands.
They, therefore, offered him two improved contracts over the next two years and it seemed that Dion would be with them for the long haul. That was however not to be as the franchise traded him to Oklahoma City Thunder in a trade that saw the duo of Iman Shumpert and J.R Smith move in the opposite direction. No elaborate reason was given for this line of action but analysts pointed out that it had little to do with any deficiency on Dion’s part but was rather an attempt by the team to fix their rotational and defense problems.
His Departure for Oklahoma City Thunder
Whatever the reason was, Dion Waiters had no choice but to bid farewell to his teammates and join up with Oklahoma City Thunder in January 2015. In Oklahoma, the shooting guard took some time to adjust to his new team. He spent the first half of the season in a bench role, starting just two games, but finally got his chance to shine in the second half.
The Philly native ended up averaging 12.7 points, 1.9 assists, and 2.9 rebounds per game in 2015, and the next year, he returned 9.8 points, 2.0 assists, and 2.6 rebounds. These pleased his new employers’ immeasurably and they offered him a contract worth $7.6 million. They, however, rescinded the offer a month later thus leaving Dion in the doldrums of free agency. It later turned out they rescinded the offer because they wanted cap space with which to tie down another player named Russell Westbrook. Waiters, therefore, had to leave through no fault of his once more.
Moving from Miami Heat to L.A Lakers
Upon becoming a free agent, Dion Waiters and his agent shopped around for another team and he was eventually picked by Miami Heat in 2016. The shooting guard went on to spend four years with the team during which he proved himself to be quite the asset. His time there was however blighted by multiple injuries as well as behavioral issues. Between 2016 and 2018, Waiters suffered a niggling ankle injury as well as a thigh injury.
He underwent multiple surgeries and had to spend a lot of time on the side-lines recuperating. When he eventually returned to full fitness, he exhibited a series of disciplinary issues. The player had a panic attack and had to miss a game due to the fact that he consumed marijuana-infused foods. As if that was not enough, he ditched one of his team’s training sessions for elaborate birthday celebrations. The pictures of the soiree surfaced on the internet and his team suspended him. Shortly thereafter, they traded him and the player joined L.A. Lakers in March 2020.
A Break Down of Dion Waiters’ Contract Earnings Over the Years
Dion Waiters is currently believed to be worth $2 million. He accrued this from his playing salaries as well as the few sponsorship deals he has scored over the years. Dion’s most expensive contract remains the four-year deal he penned with Miami Heat in 2017. The contract was worth $52 million and paid him an annual salary of $12.7 million.
That contract, unfortunately, ran for just three years before the Heat offloaded him. The shooting guard is now on a one-year contract with the L.A. Lakers worth $503,656. The contract is a fully guaranteed one and means that Waiters has made about $54.872 million since joining the NBA.
The Basketballer’s Family Members
Dion Waiters grew up in humble circumstances and was majorly raised by his mom, Monique Brown, as his dad was in prison. The mother and son lived in a part of Philly where drive-by shootings were a normal occurrence. They survived one on a particular day but during another occasion, Browns was shot in her leg. Fortunately for her, doctors were able to remove the bullet and she was able to walk normally. Monique utilized her time and energy to provide the best for her son and they grew quite close. Such closeness persists today and Dion does not joke with his mom.
Another person that occupies a special place in the NBA star’s heart is his younger brother, Demetrius Pinckney. Demetrius was unfortunately gunned down in a shooting in Philadelphia in early 2016. The loss devastated Dion and he penned a touching tribute in The Player’s Tribune. In it, he described Demetrius as a goofy mama’s boy who loved dancing as well as rap music. The player also regretted that he wasn’t there to protect his younger brother and promised to honor his memory by being the best possible version of himself.
The Three Adorable Children He Shares with His Fiancé
Dion Waiters is one man who likes keeping his private life away from the glare of the media but the internet has snooped out some details about him including the fact that he has been in a long term relationship with a fellow Philly native named Brandi. The couple has been together since the early 2010s and has welcomed three children together.
Their first was son, Dion Rhamik Jr, who was born around 2014. Their second, daughter – Dior Raina, was born in November 2017. The birth made Dion miss about three of his team’s games but he couldn’t be less bothered as he was ecstatic over his daughter’s birth.
Dion and Brandi welcomed their third child, another daughter—Dream Riley, in August 2019. Dion was still with Miami Heat at that time and reportedly named his daughter after the team president Pat Riley. The shooting guard remains a doting dad and often shows his children off on social media. He and Brandi are yet to formalize their union but they are said to be engaged.