New Zealand Rumors
On Tuesday, Steven Adams brought Thunder teammates, coaches and staff to the Ronald McDonald House in Auckland, New Zealand, to support a charity in his native country. Then, he put them to work. Adams, Nick Collison and Andre Roberson represented the Thunder at the Steven Adams Camps in Auckland this week. The trio was flooded by campers wearing T-shirts with a clever design on the front: the lines of a basketball with Adams’ trademark mustache across the middle. Each shirt also had Adams’ No. 12 on the back.
Steven Adams on if he’ll ever play for New Zealand’s national team: “Definitely. My main concern now is obviously solidifying my place in the NBA. I keep focusing on the grassroots (basketball in New Zealand) because I want the next guys to be good. Right now all I’m doing for camps and academies and stuff, I’m just finding the next NBA player.”
During the Thunder’s latest playoff run, Steven Adams became a worldwide star. His older sister, Valerie, was already one. Valerie entered the Rio Olympics as a two-time gold medalist in the women’s shot put. She took home silver last week for New Zealand. In an interview with Sky Sport New Zealand, Steven said he’s happy to take a backseat to big sis. “I didn’t really appreciate it as much as I do now,” Steven said. “Witnessing her in that environment just blew me away.
Graham Hoete, also known as Mr G, is a famed New Zealand graphic artist. He’s based in Sydney, Australia but crafts his work all over the world. This week, he set off for the United States to spray-paint a tribute piece in Minneapolis for Prince. He also plans to produce one of Muhammad Ali in Louisville. But before then, he had a personal project he wanted to get done. So on Monday, he made a stop in Oklahoma City to spray-paint a huge mural of fellow New Zealander Steven Adams just down the street from Chesapeake Energy Arena. The mural was still in progress as of late Monday and Hoete said he doesn’t expect to complete it until Tuesday afternoon.
Basketball New Zealand and the Tall Blacks have been informed that Steven Adams will be unavailable to play for the Tall Blacks this year as they prepare for and play in a FIBA Rio Olympic Games qualifying tournament in July. Adams has reluctantly made the call that he will not be available due to the congested and unpredictable nature of the NBA post-season, but has indicated this as early as he can to best allow Head Coach Paul Henare to select and prepare the team knowing he will unfortunately not be a part of it.
“I will not be participating in the Olympic competitions with the Tall Blacks this summer,” said Adams. “This was a very difficult decision as I take tremendous pride in being a New Zealander. The Tall Blacks organisation has been extremely supportive and we felt it was best to make an announcement now as preparations have already begun for the qualifying tournament and the Games.”