Steven Adams disappointed basketball fans across his home nation in late May when, in a joint decision with the Thunder, he revealed that he wouldn’t compete with the New Zealand national team during the upcoming FIBA World Cup.
But throughout the rest of this summer, he’s done his best to make up for it.
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.
After becoming the first New Zealander to ever get selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, Adams had an impressive rookie season, culminating with a few breakout performances in the playoffs. And through it all, his celebrity continued to grow back home.
So it’s no surprise that his appearances at some youth camps earlier this summer led to a spike in participation numbers and drew some local media interest.
“Steven always wants to do something special for Kiwi kids,” New Zealand Basketball Academy spokesman Peter Gosnell recently told Stuff.co.nz, a New Zealand website. “The Thunder are a very community-focused organization and their players run basketball camps around the world.”
Last week, Adams was even invited, along with some of the nation’s better rugby players, to a popular sports academy to speak to a group of New Zealand’s most promising athletes.
“It is really weird, but most of the stuff I have to share with them is not things that I thought up myself,” Adams told The New Zealand Herald of his speech. “It's stuff I picked up along the way from veterans and more experienced players that have given me their time and helped me out. I constantly ask questions of the veterans, so this is all their words really. I'm just the messenger boy."
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