Steven Adams from Rotorua in the North island of New Zealand has become an instant millionaire. The younger brother of dual Olympic Shot Put gold medalist Valerie is a giant in many ways. The 19 year old has size 19 shoes and stands seven feet tall! He will also earn two million Kiwi dollars a year for the next three years at least. He will play in a development league next year. Please read the following news story:
“With the 12th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Steven Adams from Rotorua, New Zealand and the University of Pittsburgh.”
And with those sweet words from NBA Commissioner David Stern, it was official. New Zealand had a first round draft pick in the most prestigious basketball competition in the world.
Hailing from Rotorua and one of 18 kids, Steven Funaki Adams has been selected in the first round by the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that made the NBA Finals in 2011-12 before losing to the Miami Heat.
The Pittsburgh centre was chosen by the Thunder as part of a wider trade that took place between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City towards the end of 2012.
Under the trade, the Thunder traded star James Harden and three other players to the Rockets in exchange for two first round picks in the 2013 Draft, a second round pick (the 32nd pick overall) and two players from the Rockets squad.
Adams, who played for the Wellington Saints in the New Zealand NBL, turned heads when he played at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012.
The centre played at Pitt for one year before declaring himself for the 2013 Draft. It was a decision that surprised a lot of basketball followers, but nobody can fault the decision now.
Adams will play along the likes of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook at the Thunder, and is the first freshman out of Pittsburgh to be drafted.
Speaking to Miami Heat small forward Shane Battier as part of ESPN’s coverage, Adams said he felt ‘amazing’ and was representing New Zealand as much as he could.
“All of the New Zealand family was just rooting for OKC. I’m pretty happy I’m going to OKC,” said Adams.
Adams was cool, calm and collected when asked about representing his country on the greatest basketball stage of them all.
After flashing the Kiwi flag on the inside of his blazer, Adams addressed all New Zealand family, friends and fans who anxiously watched on in his homeland.
“Thank you for all the support, guys, and I’m pretty much doing it as a Kiwi always.”