Adams Talks Haka, Hoops And...Rooster Balls???
By Randy Renner
One thing we've learned about Thunder center Steven Adams in the short time we've known him...you can ALWAYS count on him to say something worthy of a sound bite, quote or tweet and the big Kiwi didn't disappoint us Wednesday afternoon.
Adams is one of those guys who works hard at everything, including having fun. Wednesday he climbed aboard the Rolling Thunder Book Bus and helped students at Oklahoma City's Mark Twain Elementary pick out some books to take home.
"This book bus is amazing and so are these kids, I mean I wasn't reading at their age," he told a small cluster of reporters.
While Adams talked to the students about reading he also handed out Thunder wristbands, book marks and some advice too about always remembering your manners and saying please and thank you.
"Yeah, that's always good, manners get you a long ways and besides they don't cost anything so might as well."
Adams has had a very busy summer, conducting basketball camps in his native New Zealand and helping out with other camps in that part of the world.
"It was amazing, we had a real good turnout, 350 kids in one camp and 400 in the other. It was really fun."
One of the highlights for Adams was being able to bring a couple of special guests to his camp and to show off his home country.
"At the first camp (Thunder GM) Sam Presti and (Thunder assistant coach) Mark Bryant were there and that was really huge. All the kids loved having them there. It helps basketball there in a way you can't really measure but it's huge."
Adams is the first native New Zealander drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft and if he continues to improve his game, the way he showed he could during his rookie year, he's on his way to a long career and possibly stardom here in the states, not to mention his home country.
"We're just trying to focus on development right now with basketball all over the country so having Sam and Mark come along it had even more of an impact."
Adams and most of his Thunder teammates are back in Oklahoma City participating in voluntary workouts to prepare for the opening of training camp in just more than two weeks. So far he's liked what he's seen from the new group of Thunder rookies and free agent signees Anthony Morrow and Sebastian Telfair.
"Honestly, I've been trying to find something wrong with them," he said laughing, "but I can't find anything, it's annoying! But, no, they're all really cool, good guys. They have their heads screwed on straight. They know the season is going to take a lot of hard work and that's what they're doing."
Adams also said he's pretty much buried the hatchet with Warriors guard Andre Iguodala who sent out a tweet a few weeks ago comparing the Haka dance performed by New Zealand's basketball team before its game with Team USA to nothing more than the old "A-Town Stomp." Adams was not amused and tweeted back that Iggy should respect other cultures.
"I haven't contacted him but I was really surprised it blew up like that. I don't want any controversy with him but just to tell him, you know be careful with what you say. I actually want him to come down to New Zealand, just so I can show him around, I don't wanna discourage anyone from coming down to New Zealand because it's an awesome place."
New Zealand will always be home but during his summer travels Adams also went to Taiwan for some NBA camps and discovered some of his favorite things, new food items.
"Oh it was awesome mate, the food there is amazing. I actually had rooster's testicles, straight up, not kidding. They didn't tell me till afterwards, so that was pretty funny. And they were quite good really."
So maybe next on Adams' menu will be some Oklahoma favorites like calf fries and lamb fries but unlike here where those delicacies are usually deep fried, in Taiwan they were "boiled and mixed in with other things," Adams said, "hearts and livers, so I learned something."
Like maybe ask before you eat, but then again that's not really the big guy's style and we're quite happy with that.