Dion Waiters has never been one to shy away from making headlines for peculiar reasons, and in a season that is still young, he may have provided the strangest headline of his career after an event on the Miami Heat‘s plane. In a young season that is already filled with drama and intrigue, Waiters caused a scare that not only sent shockwaves through social media, but it also cost him ten games of the season.
The Dion Waiters experience
Waiters is a player who comes with a certain amount of baggage when putting against the average member of the NBA community. From the early days in his career when Waiters questioned the Cleveland Cavaliers’ decision to start Kyrie Irving over him, he has been one to often step on his toes in the pursuit of what he feels to be correct. Sometimes, this can be nothing more than a funny quip or headline, but other times it can be a detriment to both himself and others.
On the other side of the coin, Waiters is something of a folk hero to some NBA fans. His relentless play and perceived overconfidence in his skills mean that he can provide gems to NBA fans who watch him hit a game-winner and strike a pose or finish off a play that’s more likely to headline Shaqtin’ a Fool. While Waiters can be a handful, his career hasn’t been filled with unforgivable baggage, just occasional lapses in judgment.
This year, however, Waiters has been especially hard to gauge as his behavior has been mysterious and sporadic.
Dion Waiters’ season
Waiters opened up the season with a suspension for “conduct detrimental to the team” after expressing his frustrations about the Heat organization and his uncertain role with the team. While that game was the only suspension, Waiters had not yet played in a game this season when his incident on the plane occurred.
Adding to the mystery, Waiters missed some preseason games for what was only labeled as personal reasons. Without a clear-cut role on the team, and with mystery surrounding where he was at to start the season, it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before Waiters had another headline-grabbing incident in NBA circles.
The plane incident
On a team plane headed toward Los Angeles, Dion Waiters made headlines after experiencing what was first reported as a medical incident. Mystery surrounded the plane incident, as Waiters was believed to have suffered everything from a panic attack to a seizure on the plane. When the real story got out, however, it turned out to be something different.
According to reports, Waiters’ panic attack occurred thanks to a THC-infused edible that he got from the teammate. Although the team was aware that he got the edible from a teammate, Waiters reportedly would not say who. This edible was believed to have kicked in mid-flight, and Waiters had a negative reaction to it in the process.
Had the season not been filled with drama before this, Waiters may have gotten away with a typical five-game suspension per the league’s substance abuse policy, but the drama surrounding it likely added to the ten-game suspension he is facing instead.
In a career that has been filled with a roller coaster of positive and negative press, this season takes the cake as the lowest-low for Waiters.
Dion Waiters’ days with the Heat are likely numbered. While injury or a change of heart could get him back into the rotation in Miami, it is more likely he is either traded or forced to sit on the bench for the majority of his time left with the team.
Society may be getting more lenient on marijuana use, but the NBA has strict policies against it. Whether Waiters’ behavior is part of a bigger problem for the guard or there’s something bigger going on, people can only hope he takes the proper steps to get back in the league’s good graces and onto the court.