Dion Waiters, who is attempting an NBA comeback, says his biggest career regret is how he handled his last season with the Miami Heat.
Since playing his last NBA game in 2020, Dion Waiters has spent his days dealing with anxiety and depression.
Despite the highs of being selected fourth overall in the 2012 draft, averaging double-digit points in seven of his eight NBA seasons, and winning a championship with the Lakers in 2020, Waiters is living with a lot of regrets.
But in a recent interview with Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, Waiters detailed how therapy, deep reflection and fatherhood have improved his mental health. Now, at 31, Waiters is attempting an NBA comeback after a three-year hiatus. In Las Vegas this week, Waiters held a private, 30-minute workout at a nearby middle school in front of “a dozen or so” executives that he hopes will lead to a training camp invitation.
It was a workout that Waiters believes wouldn’t be necessary had he been more responsible during his time with the Miami Heat.
Waiters spent three-and-a-half seasons with the Heat, carving out a role as one of Miami’s top scorers and backcourt partner with Goran Dragic. But in 2019, Waiters was suspended by the Heat three times, thrusting his future with the team into question. Waiters was suspended for the season opener for complaining about his role on social media. Three weeks later, he was suspended for 10 games after consuming THC-infused edibles that prompted a panic attack on the team plane. Then a month later, Waiters was suspended for six games after posting a picture celebrating his birthday after calling out of practice sick. He played just three games for the Heat that season before getting traded and subsequently waived before the February trade deadline.
"“That last year with the Miami Heat and just understanding what was going on in that situation. I was so irresponsible and immature. I let the Heat down. They were good to me. I did not handle it well at all.“The things that were going on were avoidable If I had just shut the hell up and let my agent handle a lot of that stuff. And if I did that, we wouldn’t even be here today. I’d still be playing. Everything happens for a reason. I looked myself in the mirror already, bro. I read my rights, I read my wrongs, and now I just got to keep pushing, moving forward and living with the results.”"
A return to the Heat is unlikely at this point, but it does sound like Waiters is holding himself accountable for his actions. It’s unclear what kind of shape he’s in after three years away from basketball but, more importantly, he seems to be in a better mental space.