Dion Waiters wrote on Instagram Monday that he read all the jokes on social media about his conditioning last season, but rather than "joining the circus," he used it as motivation to improve his physique.
The veteran Miami Heat guard, listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds on the team's roster, showed off his new slimmer, shredded look in the post, writing that he was in a "dark place mentally & physically" last season while trying to return from the ankle injury that ended his season in 2017-18.
"Last year when I came off 1 of the most depressing & frustrating times of my life," he wrote. "Coming off injury & not feeling like myself nor looking like myself I was in a dark place mentally & physically, Because the game I love so much was taken away due to season ending surgery.
"Now a days with this social media ran world they laughed at me made jokes etc not knowing what I was battling or going through everyday. So instead of me joining the circus I told myself you from (Philly) you've been through worst s--- in your life than this. So I promise myself I would work my ass off & get back to where I was before the injury. I'm not done yet but I kno somebody in the world prolli needed to hear this. Stay positive block out the outside noise & grind."
At his season-ending news conference, Heat president Pat Riley said the Heat wanted Waiters to get slimmer and believed his game would explode if he got into world-class condition. Riley said Waiters basically played last season on 1 ½ ankles.
"The surgery that he had was extensive. It wasn't just to fix one part of his ankle. It was absolutely something more than that. And it took him a year," Riley told reporters, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
"But from a conditioning standpoint, [coach Erik Spoelstra] and I are right on the same page, whatever number he comes back at, I think it's going to be to his benefit, and we'll be able to see the explosiveness and he'll be able to finish. He'll get to the rim a little more. But he was impacted by his ankle. And while he weighed in at numbers that were acceptable, that's where the tightening of the screws will come into play. And it won't be a single screwdriver. I'll be using one of those Black & Deckers. It's go hard."
Waiters, 27, averaged 12 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists last season, his third with the Heat.