MIAMI — Toward the end of the season, the Heat started a new advertising campaign surrounding the organization’s “Culture.”
But it’s not just an advertising campaign, there’s really a “Culture” that Heat players have raved about this season. Guard Dion Waiters showed off what the “Heat way” did to his body, posting a shirtless before-and-after photo on social media Wednesday.
The photo on the left shows a heavier Waiters when he signed with the Heat this past offseason, and the photo on the right shows a trimmed down Waiters at the end of the season.
This weight loss process began in the offseason as Waiters showed up to training camp in September 12 pounds lighter than when he signed with Miami in July, going from 234 pounds and 10 percent body fat to 222 pounds and 7.5 percent body fat. But as the picture shows, Waiters continued to drop weight during the season.
“Them staying on top of you and making sure you do what you got to do,” Waiters said Monday during exit interviews when asked about how the Heat do things. “Most important is getting your mind and body right. That’s one thing they preach over here, just get in the best shape of your life. As you can see with some of the guys coming in including myself, just getting your body right. It showed with the performance on the court.”
James Johnson is another player who took advantage of the Heat’s program in his first season with the team. Johnson said in March that he went from 275 pounds and 14.5 percent body fat to 238 pounds and 6.75 percent body fat during his short time with Miami.
“We moved it up from best condition to world class,” Heat president Pat Riley said Wednesday in his season-ending press conference. “And I think world class is what it’s about. If you don’t want to be a world class athlete then what are you doing? You’re wasting your time. All you’re doing is making money and probably having a short career and being very frustrated. In order to get the best out of yourself, you have to get to this point first and then let the coaches take care of the development part and let the head coach take care of how he sees you as a world class athlete developing your skills.”
Getting in better shape paid off — literally and figuratively — for Waiters and Johnson. Both turned in career seasons and both are expected to get big pay raises in free agency this summer.
Waiters, who made $2.9 million this season, averaged 15.8 points and 4.3 assists. Johnson, who made $4 million this season, averaged 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
The question is, did Waiters and Johnson benefit enough from the Heat’s program to give the organization a discount as a free agent this offseason?