Dion Waiters: South Philly raised him, NBA made him

Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers
Dion Waiters grew up idolizing Allen Iverson and playing on the courts in South Philly.

 

It seems as if every story you read nowadays about Allen Iverson, is one that only adds to his tragic decline. He’s a bad father, he’s a bad husband, he’s broke.

It’s hard to remember the greatness of the man who was once beloved and idolized in the city of Philadelphia. That’s until you talk with someone who got his inspiration from Iverson, a player like Cleveland guard and South Philly native, Dion Waiters.

“AI [Allen Iverson] was my favorite player growing up,” said Waiters. “I tried to model every aspect of my game after him. I wore the headband, the sleeve, the little finger bands — I wanted to be just like AI.”

Waiters’ playing days began on the courts of Chew Playground near 19th and Washington in Point Breeze and Marian Anderson Park near 18th and Catharine. When he wasn’t out shooting hoops, he was glued to the TV watching “The Answer” and the Sixers.

“I used to watch every game, especially during that 2001 finals run,” said Waiters. “My whole family would fill the house and sit by the TV to watch. You would’ve thought every game was the championship. Anytime AI was on … my mom, my dad and everyone who was around would all be watching.”

Waiters, the No. 4 pick in last year’s NBA draft, had a stellar rookie season, averaging 14.7 points, 3.0 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game. His 14.7 points per game ranked second among rookies. He’s been working out this summer at Temple University’s new practice facility with Immaculata assistant coach Chuck Ellis.

“I’ve been working on my handle, my ball handling, my post-up game, my mid-range game, staying consistent with my jump shot and really just everything,” said Waiters. “Chuck’s helping me with taking my game to that next level.”

At 21, Waiters still has a lot of room to grow into the NBA star he wants to be. In terms of being an adult, he took a big step on the day before Father’s Day when his first child was born.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better Father’s Day,” he said. “This is the best present I could’ve asked for. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”

 

Props to Temple

Waiters said Temple’s new practice facility is state of the art and should help draw in recruits.

“It’s really nice. It’s a great facility,” he said. “They have great coaches and they’ve showed me nothing but love. I get the gym almost anytime that I need it. The people there are great and I think what they’re doing around the community and how much success they’ve had should definitely draw in a lot of Philly kids and just a lot of recruits in general. They’re going in the right direction.”

Waiters also trains with Temple’s Khalif Wyatt. He explained Wyatt’s chances on making an NBA roster:

“I think he deserves to be in the NBA,” Waiters said. “He’s definitely worked for it. I think his numbers show his production, he’s a winner and I think he will get a chance as long as he continues to work hard.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.