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OKC Thunder: Rugby, siblings taught Steven Adams how to play tough

The youngest of 18 children, Adams took plenty of hits from his rough-and-tumble family, which included his Olympic champion sister.
by Anthony Slater Modified: January 13, 2014 at 9:21 pm •  Published: January 13, 2014


photo - OKC’ Steven Adams, right, defends against Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic during the Thunder’s 113-103 win on Sunday. With the win, the Thunder completed a season-high six-game homestand. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
OKC’ Steven Adams, right, defends against Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic during the Thunder’s 113-103 win on Sunday. With the win, the Thunder completed a season-high six-game homestand. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Vince Carter is a 6-foot-6, 220-pounder known for his athleticism. And when he wants to deliver a vicious elbow, like the one he planted on the side of Steven Adams' face back in November, you know it's coming with some force.

Didn't seem like the Thunder rookie even felt it.

Larry Sanders is a 6-foot-11, 235-pounder with a publicized mean streak. He made headlines after a Milwaukee bar fight earlier this season and again this past Saturday, when he connected with a pair of forearm shivers to Adams' head, leading to an ejection.

Didn't seem like the Thunder rookie even noticed.

How could that be?

“Have you seen my sister?” Adams said, when asked about his ability to take a beating. “Look her up, bro.”

When it comes to New Zealand sports, there might not be a hotter name right now than Steven Adams. But if you were to name the competitors, Valerie Adams would likely be at the top of that list.

She's one of the greatest women's shot putters in the world.

Steven Adams' sister, Valerie, is a two-time Olympic Gold medalist in the shot put. (AP Photo/Keystone, Peter Schneider)
Steven Adams' sister, Valerie, is a two-time Olympic Gold medalist in the shot put. (AP Photo/Keystone, Peter Schneider)

At 6-foot-4, 260 pounds — weighing more than Carter, Sanders, Serge Ibaka and 90 percent of all other NBA players — Valerie is a supreme athlete. She won Olympic gold for the shot put in 2008 and 2012. And, with a streak that dates back to 2007, she became the first woman in history to win four consecutive individual titles at the world track and field championships, regardless of event.

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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