When the Los Angeles Lakers signed Dion Waiters in March, they were bringing in a veteran player with playoff experience who wouldn’t be afraid of the big stage.
What is forgotten is that Waiters is also someone who has played with LeBron James in the past.
When James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers ahead of the 2014-15 NBA season, Waiters was already there and was in just his third year in the league. This time together, however, lasted just half a season as the Cavaliers would deal Waiters in a three-team trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a trade that would net them J.R. Smith.
But that was enough time for Waiters to establish a relationship with James and even more so for his son to establish one as he spoke about in his article on The Players Tribune:
When my son found out I was going to the Lakers, he went bananas. Buh-nanas, bro. He’s known Bron since he was a baby, when we were in Cleveland. That’s his guy.
Waiters’ son may have been a baby at that time but in terms of his standing in the league, the same could be said for Waiters himself. Whereas James had been in the league for over a decade, Waiters was in the beginning of his career and he recalls him really trying to take him under his wing during that time:
I ain’t gonna lie to you. Back then, in those Cleveland days? I was still a kid, too. A dumbass kid, trying to figure it out. Bron used to show me different wines, different kinds of food. I was Philly Philly. I was raw. But Bron took me under his wing — and now all these years later, here we are again. Less hair, more wisdom. Life is crazy, right? Damn.
It is amazing how things come full circle sometimes as Waiters admits he was still a kid at that time and now he has another chance to live up to his potential with James once again. He has certainly had his issues both on and off the court, but sometimes getting in the right situation is what a player needs to reach that next level.
Hopefully, for everyone’s sake, the season will resume and in addition to showing Waiters the best wines, James can also lead him to his first NBA championship.