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Oklahoma City Thunder: Steven Adams helping to drum up interest in New Zealand basketball

Adams has spent a large portion of his offseason back home, taking part in camps and trying to stir up basketball interest in New Zealand.
by Anthony Slater Published: August 3, 2014

/articleid/5124991/1/pictures/3037515">Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder's Steven Adams talks to the media during exit interviews at the teams practice facility in Oklahoma City,  Monday June2, 2014. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City Thunder's Steven Adams talks to the media during exit interviews at the teams practice facility in Oklahoma City, Monday June2, 2014. Photo By Steve Gooch, The Oklahoman

Some of the athletes Adams spoke with are around the same age or older than him. But his story resonates across the country. He’s a homegrown product who battled through a troubled childhood to make it in one of the world’s most popular sports leagues. His words carry weight.

“Hearing messages from teachers and even coaches, sometimes they're not as powerful as hearing them from your peers or athletes you admire,” Nic Gill, a strength trainer who helped set up the event, told The New Zealand Herald.

The ultimate goal is to drum up more interest around basketball in New Zealand. The hope is to ensure Adams isn’t the exception, but rather the start of a trend of Kiwi players in the NBA.

And the biggest event of the summer comes on Aug. 17. For the second straight year, Adams is running a hoops camp in Wellington, where he attended high school.

Last year, Nets center Brook Lopez was a special guest. This year, Thunder general manager Sam Presti and a few OKC players are rumored to be on the docket. Gosnell, the camp’s spokesman, told Stuff.co.nz that the hope is to have 1,000 attendees and promised “the largest basketball training event ever in New Zealand,” made possible because of the presence of Adams.

“In terms of talent, there's no doubt New Zealand has been under-recruited for players,” Gosnell said. “Steven and (his mentor) Kenny (McFadden) are opening doors for other Kiwi players."

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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