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
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.