The population of New Zealand is just shy of 4.5 million, which is why one sports radio host on Friday afternoon proudly boasted, “The Thunder picked up about four million more fans on Thursday night.”
Kiwi center Steven Adams, whom the Thunder selected with the No. 12 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, literally is somewhat of cult hero in his native country, as you can read here.
The 7-foot, 255-pound Adams became the first player born in New Zealand to be drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft. The 19-year-old Adams played one season of college ball at Pittsburgh and will likely spent much of his rookie season with the Tulsa 66ers in the NBA Developmental League, but that hasn’t dampened the excitement some 7,700 miles away, particularly from Adams’ “fairy godmother,” Blossom Cameron, who became his legal guardian.
“Bloody tornadoes,” Cameron yelled after watching the draft in a sports bar back in Wellington.
Joanna Joseph has been Adams’ general practitioner since he moved to Wellington and also was at the bar to support her patient. “He’s my most famous patient now, by a long run,” Joseph said. “The first time he came to see me we were trying to measure him and we had to stand on a chair and put a ruler on his head, and he just kept growing.”
- John Rohde