OKC Thunder: Steven Adams carries hopes of a nation

The exploits of Thunder draftee Steven Adams have been big news in his home country of New Zealand.
by Anthony Slater Published: July 2, 2013
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photo - OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER NBA BASKETBALL: Steven Adams talks with youths during the Thunder Youth Basketball mini-camp following a press conference at the Thunder Events center, Saturday, July 29, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER NBA BASKETBALL: Steven Adams talks with youths during the Thunder Youth Basketball mini-camp following a press conference at the Thunder Events center, Saturday, July 29, 2013. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Not too bad for a kid who, just six years earlier, was struggling to cope with the loss of his father and, because of spotty attendance at school, was sent from his hometown Rotorua down the island to Wellington Academy.

 “When I lost my dad, that was a big hit for me,” Adams told the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette last season. “I didn't have that parental guidance, and I kind of took advantage of it because I was a stupid idiot. I decided not to go to school a couple of times, go when I felt like it.”

At Wellington, Adams was introduced to the game of basketball, a move that turned his life around. And in return, he's hoping his newfound fame can do the same for others.

Because of poor performances in recent international competition, funding has been drastically cut for basketball programs in New Zealand.

But Adams hopes the interest, and eventually finances, will return, in part because of his popularity.

“People will go down there, hopefully, and know that there are good basketball players down there and get recruited to America or whatever it is,” Adams said at his introductory news conference in OKC last Saturday. “That's really what the main focus is because there's a lot of talent down there. It's just that there's not many programs and funding for them to nurture those talents. … Hopefully you'll see more Kiwis in the draft.”

For now, they'll just have to settle for the latest one, an athletic big man with plenty of pressure on his broad shoulders, carrying the future hopes of his new organization (which hopes he can turn into a franchise center) and his home country.

“We haven't seen a lot of him in a game situation yet,” Larmer said of Adams. “But promise-wise and talent-wise, he should go down, hopefully, as the greatest player we've ever produced.”


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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