Steven Adams traveled to Taiwan this week to appear at NBA 3X, the league’s grassroots international program that features a 3-on-3 tournament and several interactive activities for fans.
In a Q&A with The Oklahoman from Taiwan, Adams talked about his offseason, his desire to grow the sport in his native New Zealand, his growing offensive game and, of course, food.
Q: How’s your offseason treating you?
A: It’s good. I’ve done a lot this offseason. I’ve been all over the place.
Where have you been?
Outside of New Zealand, the only other place I’ve been is Taiwan. Other than that it’s just been back and forth from New Zealand to (the states).
With this being your first offseason as an NBA player, what’s been your best experience so far?
Probably getting new rookies. Because I can call them my rookies. That’s probably the best part. I’m pumped.
So are you officially no longer a rookie?
No. I have to wait for my first regular-season game. But the coaches look to me for teaching the young guys. I call them young guys. I’m still the youngest, but I call them my young boys.
Why is it important for you to continue to go back to New Zealand so often in between coming back and working out in OKC?
Not only because it’s home but I just want to promote basketball as much as I can in New Zealand. So that’s why I keep going back to try to do camps and just help out. I just recently presented a scholarship to a kid for my school. So just doing stuff like that to continue to try to be in New Zealand and not be distant from them. Because I am an American, and I guess what people sometimes do is not be as involved with your own as much as I do. That’s what I’m trying to do. Keep it genuine but go back as much as I can.
Do you feel a certain level of responsibility or pressure to do that in New Zealand?
Nah. I don’t think I feel any sort of responsibility. I don’t really see it as pressure. That’s just the way it is.
How would you describe how you’ve been welcomed back home this summer?
I’d say it’s been different each time. There were three welcomings really. The first time I went back that was the big one, like ‘Hey, welcome back, Steven’ or whatever. It was full of media and stuff. And then the second one was (quiet). I didn’t tell anyone. And the third one was just recently with (Thunder general manager) Sam Presti and (assistant coach) Mark Bryant.
What did it mean to you to have Sam Presti and Mark Bryant travel to support you in Wellington?
It’s just huge. Because I brag about it all the time, New Zealand. It’s just awesome that Sam and some Thunder people were there with it being my country. I like to just show off New Zealand. So to show them where I came from and what it’s all about was just cool to bring someone in and show them part of your story.
Were you able to show them a good time away from the clinics?
It was mainly based around basketball because they were only there for like two or three days. So it was really hard to do stuff. But they got a good feel for it. In their short period of time there they did the most that they could to see what it is all about. All I did was just pretty much recommend food for them (laughs). Yeah, our food’s pretty good. No joke.
How did you get involved with NBA 3X?
My agent just asked me about it. It just came up and I thought it was a good idea. I thought it was really good stuff so I agreed to it. I came over here and it blew out all my expectations. It’s really, really good what they’ve got going on over here.
Had you ever been to Taiwan?
No. This is the first time. And I’ve been trying to get as cultured as possible.
How’s that going? What’s the experience like over there?
Oh, it’s really cool. All the people are really nice. And the food is really good here. Really good. I love the food here. That’s one of the things they pride themselves on, good food. And I love eating. Peas and carrots.
What’s the best meal you’ve had?
It’s this place called Din Tai Fung. That’s this really well known dumpling place, and they have, honestly, the best food out. It’s so tasty. So, so good. Straight up. You haven’t lived life if you haven’t had it. I’m dead serious.
What’s the rest of your summer look like? What do you want to do with the last month or so that you have off?
It’s pretty much just working out now that I’ve got all my travel out of the way. Now it’s just buckling down and getting back into it.
We talked at summer league about you wanting to become a more polished offensive player. How’s that going, and do you feel like you’re better now than you were at summer league?
I mean, yeah, I’ve definitely seen improvements now from summer league. But there’s still a long way to go. I’m on the right track, though, I guess you could say that. But as I’ve said before, it’s still a part of what I’m learning. They’re still developing it. That’s one of the main focuses, but it’s still based around defense.
Are you ready to get going now, or could you use a little more time for yourself?
I want it to come, but I want the time that I have now to really work on my game. I can’t wait until it comes but I just really need this time.