Generational stereotypes are grotesquely dumb and unfair, which makes it entertaining when someone genuinely lives up to one. Obviously people in their 20s are not the complacent, self-esteem-bloated solipsists that the popular culture supposes them to be.
And yet! Here is 22-year-old Dion Waiters, born in 1991, an actual baby to chase that baited hook on the cover of Nevermind. Waiters is beginning his third year of paid work in his chosen profession, playing shooting guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers. This week, he has been involved in a public disagreement with the Washington Wizards about which of their teams might be said to have the best guards in the NBA.
The answer is: neither. But the Wizards can at least make a case, with the All-Star John Wall at point guard and the rapidly improving Bradley Beal at shooting guard. The Cavaliers have their own All-Star point guard, Kyrie Irving. But he's paired with...Dion Waiters.
Who is Dion Waiters? In case you didn't know, Waiters weighed in with a tweet:
— Dionwaiters3 (@dionwaiters3) October 1, 2014
Even if you know nothing at all about basketball, you can still appreciate the fact that this is how the caption of the YouTube clip that Waiters is bragging about begins:
If you want to understand why Dion Waiters isn't a good player, this would be a good video to watch.
Maybe Waiters didn't scroll down to that part, because he was too captivated watching and re-watching himself scoring 24 points. Not 24 points in a quarter, which is the stuff of legend. Not 24 points in a half, which is a player stepping up and carrying his team. Twenty-four points in a game.
Twenty-four points is a resoundingly ordinary performance for an NBA player—particularly for a shooting guard like Waiters, whose main job is scoring points. Seven players averaged 24 or more points per game last season, led by Kevin Durant's 32.0 points per game. At one point, Durant went three months scoring more than 24 points in every single game.
Yet Waiters—the 50th-highest scorer in a 30-team league—regards that mundane clip as a glorious conversation-ender. Seeing this much unearned self-esteem out there in public is like seeing 50 clowns pile out the back door of an ordinary Hyundai Elantra at a turnpike rest stop. Young people aren't really like that. Or are they? BUCKETS DNT LIE.
(Buckets say Dion Waiters does not get many buckets.)
[Photo via Getty: Elton Brand #42 of the Atlanta Hawks blocks a shot by Dion Waiters #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena on April 4, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia]