Before his 21st birthday, Steven Adams has already established himself as one of the quirkiest and most naturally entertaining interviews in the NBA.
He’s got a dry New Zealand sense of humor and a willingness to yuck it up with the media, telling entertaining anecdotes and using unique mannerisms.
Following his first NBA season, in the relaxed setting of exit interviews on Monday afternoon, Adams was as hilarious as ever. Here’s the transcript:
What surprised you most about Year 1 in NBA life?
What surprised me? Probably the biggest thing is the private planes. Wow, that thing’s amazing. Got all the food on there, a bunch of drinks. I don’t know, It’s just amazing, never seen nothing like it. Tables, tables on planes, that’s amazing. That was probably the biggest ‘whoa’ for me, like ‘I made it’. This big private jet, you’re like ‘whoa.’
Was there any on the court I know I’m in the NBA now moment?
Nah, not really. Probably the biggest reality check I’m in the NBA was in practice. That was probably the biggest ones. There would be a day, Perk, he was there. And we were like scrimmaging or whatever and we kinda got into it like we clashed. I’m innocent, I didn’t do anything, I accidently hit him. And then like, he turned around and elbowed me in the ribs and I’m like ‘oh my God’ (holding ribs). Then he just yelled at me: “I’m the only silverback!” I was like “What the…?” So that was a big check, it was like, “We got some animals in the NBA.”
Were you surprised with how many players this season were elbowing you, hitting you, getting ejected, that sort of thing?
Yeah, I mean, I didn’t have an expectation on how many players I wanted to get out or anything. The first time it happened, I was like, ‘What the hell is going on’ kind of thing because it didn’t seem like much. Because my mindset going into it was like everyone was hyping me up. All the coaches, not just from the Thunder but talking like say during the draft, saying ‘Oh, it’s a really physical league, people are going to elbow you, punch you in the face and it’s going to be fine.’ That sort of thing. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I gotta get prepared for this.’ So that was my mindset. So maybe I was like overly physical I guess, throwing around everywhere kind of thing. They’re right, I did get elbowed and punch and, yeah, I didn’t think much of it. Just surprised, I guess. Kinda sad, to be honest with you. I don’t like people not liking me. I like to think I’m a likable guy. And when they elbowed me, I’m like, ‘Aww, that’s our friendship out the door.’
Do you get yourself like Perk, where you get yourself to hate your opponent every game?
Nah, I take the same approach game to game. I don’t hate them, but I don’t want them to win. I want them to lose sort of thing. So in terms of really hating them, nah. (Talking about Perk) Does he do like a little ritual kind of thing? I don’t do none of that. Just kinda play.
Will you be working with guys here or you can do on your own?
I’m still like definitely under them. I got a ton more to learn. I made a good step this year, but it’s nowhere near where I need to be, get into good habits and be smart enough to go and workout on my own. So I’m definitely going to stick around them as much as I can, get as much knowledge to help my game.
Going back to New Zealand going to be crazy because of your celebrity?
Yeah, I think it’ll be pretty weird. Just cause, yeah, they're huge Thunder fans, apparently, which is awesome, very cool.
It’ll be hard to go incognito because of how tall you are.
Yeah, incognito, no chance. I actually bought a facemask. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, I tweeted it once. It’s like a Balaclava. So I got that, I might wear that around. But it’s going to be ridiculous, probably, because I like to be out a lot. I got a lot of restaurants I like to eat at, smash out some food. So yeah, it’s going to be quite annoying.
Just take your sister (an Olympic gold medalist in the shot put) out with you.
Yeah, she’s aggressive. That’s a good idea. She would (mimicking a linebacker) boom, boom, smash them.
What’s it been like living in Oklahoma City your first year?
It’s real weird. The people are amazing, don’t get me wrong. People are amazing, really, really nice people. Awesome fans. Really committed, awesome place. But the weather here is ridiculous. The winter is like, I was sliding around everywhere, it’s really cold. Like thunderstorms, it’s so hot. I was like, ‘Oh, man’. I don’t want to say it sucks, but it’s borderline.
You playing for the New Zealand national team?
You playing summer league?