Steven Adams has become one of my favorite new players in the NBA, and not only because of this vicious yam on Golden State’s Draymond Green. Nevertheless, how’s that for payback for all the “accidental” kicks in the nuts, Draymond?
— NBA (@NBA) May 29, 2016
Unusual Origins of a Budding Superstar
Steven Adams is the youngest of 18 children and was born in New Zealand. He comes from a family of giants – his siblings and half-siblings average 6’9 for his brothers and 6’0 for his sisters. He’s not the only one of the Adams clam to achieve of the world sporting stage – sister Valerie Vili (nee Adams) is a double Olympic shot put gold medallist.
Adams states his father’s death in 2006 left him without guidance, but one of his brothers brought young Steven to Wellington and placed him in a local basketball academy. After leading New Zealand team, the Wellington Saints, to a championship in February 2011, Adams attended the University of Pittsburgh for a year and then declared for the 2013 NBA draft.
Adams was selected as the 12th overall pick for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now at only 22 years old, Steven Adams has seen more daylight in the playoffs than most players in the NBA have in their entire careers.
The Thunder’s Breakout Star
To most, Steven Adams is the 7-foot, shaggy, handlebar-moustached big man with an image reminiscent of the NBA in the 1980s. His breakout 2015-2016 year has him now currently preparing for a Game 7 against the current NBA champions, the team with a record breaking 73 playoff wins, the team with Steph Curry and his astronomical level of gameplay, in the Western Conference Finals. To get to this point, he helped his teammates beat out the San Antonio Spurs, one of the historically best teams in the NBA. Adams has recorded six double-doubles in these playoffs – and hopefully for the Thunder there are more to come.
Adams v Spurs
The Spurs are a team renowned for their big-man rotations. Home to the legendary Tim Duncan, the 2015-2016 Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard, and 7’3 rookie Boban Marjanovic, a former 2nd overall draft pick, and 5-time NBA All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. Things looked pretty grim for Adams to say the least.
One of my favorite aspects of Adams is his interviewing personality. Adams channels a rookie humor that’s a blend of optimism and pessimism. For example, when asked what playing against the gigantic 7’3, 290-pound Boban Marjanovic, Adams responded, “I tell you what mate: leg days.”
Adams matched the explosive efforts of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in a 4-2 series victory over the San Antonio and held his own against the Spurs’ arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.
Life in the Fast Lane
In an early interview, when asked what amazes him most about the NBA life, Adams replied, “Probably the biggest thing is their private plane, that thing is amazing. They got tables. Tables on planes. It’s amazing.”
The NBA so far for him has been a mix of the amazing perks and adjusting to stardom, along with the not-so-great parts of getting roughed up every game in the traditional new big man hazing NBA veterans tend to do – including a few kicks to the nuts this past week.
The transition he’s made isn’t only in his look. His start in the NBA wasn’t exactly explosive, but it wasn’t a small drop in the water. Steven Adams has a playing style that is a mix of fundamental footwork required for a big man and the flashy playing style that earns him his stripes on the Thunder, a team known for their explosive and posterizing plays.