The outburst by Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters after playing just 12 minutes on Tuesday night was explosive enough that Dwyane Wade was one teammate who felt the need to speak with Waiters about his actions.
According to Waiters, the two spoke for more than an hour, with the soon-to-retire Wade having the right perspective to get through to the seven-year veteran.
Waiters had unleashed an expletive-laced tirade after his brief time on the court, but explained why Wade’s words meant so much:
“That’s somebody that has been in my shoes. He… had to take a backseat when LeBron James came and he was just telling me it was hard to adjust. He was telling me to stay patient, ‘you’re so talented that I’m going to stay on your [butt].’”
One of the things that Wade later said was that Waiters needed to be more circumspect when he’s in similar situations with the media in the future. The guard acknowledged his own past when describing the similarities between the two players.
“When I was 26, 27, I said or did things I probably should have said different,” Wade said he told Waiters.
Another wizened veteran, Udonis Haslem, also counseled Waiters, telling him to channel those emotions in a more positive fashion:
“My conversation with Dion was, ‘We want that chip on your shoulder, we want that fire, we want that competitive spirit. We just want it channeled in the right direction.’
“We don’t have any bad apples on our team. We understand Dion’s comments, while not the right thing to do, are coming from a good place.”
Waiters was subsequently fined by the team for his actions, but still has the potential to be an important part of the Heat lineup during the second half of the regular season.
They currently have a 21-21 record and are tied for the sixth-best mark in the Eastern Conference with Brooklyn. The loss on Tuesday at Milwaukee was the start of an important stretch of games that will have Miami on the road 11 more times in the next 15 contests, with the next matchup coming Friday night in Detroit.