OKC Thunder: Thunder-Spurs rivalry has a New Zealand twist

About five years ago, like most other New Zealanders, Sean Marks began hearing of this local basketball prodigy. Steven Adams was his name.
by Anthony Slater Published: December 20, 2013

And that'll include Steven Adams on Saturday night, when his 21-4 Thunder visit the 21-5 Spurs.

But the two native New Zealanders don't let one of the NBA's best current rivalries get in the way of their developing friendship. Or, more accurately, it's more of a mentorship.

Marks and Adams have been in contact for the past few years, with Marks lending advice whenever necessary.

Adams is on a relatively unpaved path, holding the basketball hopes of his country on his shoulders. But if anyone can relate, it's Marks, who made the same around the world trek two decades ago, just with a bit less hype.

“He's a pretty good friend, a cool guy, man,” Adams said. “Him being a Kiwi and also played in the NBA, it's a big help just to have someone there to kind of talk to. But most of our conversations aren't about basketball. It's about New Zealand.”

But back in New Zealand, all they want to talk about is Steven Adams.

“You're removed from New Zealand, but there's so much interest back there that he'll always be followed in New Zealand,” Marks said. “It'll be great for basketball and great for the national team, having a guy over there who is really playing well. He's got the country on his shoulders. But they're big shoulders, so he can carry that.”

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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