23 Feb 2016

Adams unavailable for Olympic qualifier

3:36 pm on 23 February 2016

New Zealand basketballer Steven Adams has ruled himself out of the Tall Blacks Olympic qualifying tournament in July.

Steven Adams

Steven Adams Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Adams, who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA, made himself unavailable due to his commitments to the Thunder.

"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."

Henare said that while it would have been preferential to see Adams in the Tall Blacks camp for the Olympic qualifying tournament, he was looking forward to the 2016 campaign with a team of strong players.

"Of course we would have liked to have Steve join the 2016 campaign. I've said it before that he is world class and would bring plenty to our group, just as we believe the Tall Blacks environment would offer plenty to Steve," said Henare.

"Our history shows the Tall Blacks are a formidable team that can mix it with the best in the world, I think you'll find that 2016 is no different. The Tall Blacks have a proud history and a strong culture that produces focused and committed teams.

"Steve and his support team have made it clear that they want to keep in touch about the possibility of future participation. Steve has not ruled anything out in that regard, so perhaps we'll see him in a black singlet one day. The door is always open and Steve is aware of that. We look forward to continued positive and open dialogue with Steve and his team, something we have enjoyed these past 18 months.

"Our focus right now is on bringing together the strongest possible group of players committed to wearing the black singlet in Rio. The silver lining here is that we have certainty early on, while not the answer we wanted, we can now focus solely on bringing together a strong group of players and finalising our build up campaign for the qualifying tournament in Manila."