Dion Waiters contributed only five points on 1-5 shooting last night in a win against the Boston Celtics, but it probably was his presence that was a present to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The guard has been gone from the team for four games, while grieving with family over the loss of his brother who was killed March 8.
Waiters spoke about how support from his teammates really helped and how he now sees life in a different light.
Waiters’ brother, Demetrius Pinckney, was shot in the head on March 8 in South Philadelphia after an argument and dirt bike chase, police said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:01 p.m. local time. “I probably haven’t cried like that since I lost my third cousin,” Waiters said following shootaround. “You know, I lost three cousins and my best friend. So this is like a replay. Every time something is going good, going great, there’s always something to remind you that it’s reality. “I probably won’t be happy for a while. Long time, probably. I feel as though I could’ve done something different.” Waiters isn’t unfamiliar with tragedy. In 2006, his older cousin Antose Brown was shot to death. A year later, in separate incidents just three months apart, he lost another cousin, Isiah Brown, and close friend, Rhamik Thomas, who were both fatally shot. “I realize how important it is to cherish life to enjoy and take full advantage of the life you’re living,” Waiters said. “That’s one thing I can put in perspective now, because I always question ‘why.’ But you can’t question why, things just happen. It’s a reality check for a lot of people, including myself.
Kevin Durant, teammate of Waiters, spoke about how since arriving back, the guard has been mostly quiet.
Waiters said he’s felt the love and support of his teammates and coaches since return. But Kevin Durant said he can definitely see the impact the situation has had. “He’s been real quiet,” Durant said. “It’s a difficult situation as a friend to approach him, because you want to give him space but you also want to let him know you’re there for him. But he knows. He knows. We’ve been texting and keeping in contact when he wasn’t here just letting him know we support him.”
Any time the loss of a family member comes, especially a sibling, it can always be a difficult thing to digest. Hopefully, this event can be turned into a positive for not only Waiters, but the Thunder, too.