11 May 2016

Why we love Steven Adams

9:37 am on 11 May 2016

Steven Adams is the coolest guy on and off the court. This is our definitive guide to the New Zealander's finest moments of the NBA season.

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Photo: Photosport NZ


We’d like to take this moment to remind you all just how great Steven Funaki Adams is.

There are many reasons; some are basketball related, others not so much. But as Oklahoma City Thunder find themselves midway through a hearty semi-final playoff series with the San Antonio Spurs, it seems only right to get a little sentimental. After all, it’s hard to get any type of shine when you have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on your team. It’s the least we can do.

Adams is looking to help take OKC to the NBA’s Western Conference Finals which, if that happens, will see them (likely) face off against the extremely good and seemingly unbeatable Golden State Warriors. It also means that we will get to see Steven Adams vs Andrew Bogut; Kiwi vs Aussie; good vs evil. You know the rest. These are the type of match-ups you save up your sick leave at work for.

Need we remind you about Adams’ backstory? Born in Rotorua, he’s the youngest of 18 children. Gold medalist shot putter Valerie Adams is his sister. When his father died, following a battle with stomach cancer, Adams decided he was done with school. He hung out with local members of the Mongrel Mob (though never actually joined the gang) until his brother Warren scooped him up and helped place him in a local basketball academy in Wellington.

Adams ended up in LA as part of a basketball camp for international prospects and, eventually, he’d spend a year playing college ball for Pittsburgh. When he was drafted into the NBA in 2013, it was with a pick from the James Harden deal, a traumatic episode that no OKC fan ever truly wants to revisit. If somehow Adams had ended up on the Houston Rockets, this entire write-up could’ve been about him comparing his farting ability with Dwight Howard. Let’s all be happy, eh?

Some other things to know: he is seven feet tall and wears size 19 shoes; around this time next year, he could become New Zealand’s highest paid athlete; he won’t be filling up your fantasy teams stat boxes just yet, but he has a job to do and he does it well. To borrow a phrase from teammate Kevin Durant, Adams is the real MVP (of our hearts).

Off the court, as much as on it, this past year has been a game-changer for the big man. We thought it was about time to examine in proper detail some of his finest and most memorable extra-curricular moments of the season.


The Stache Brothers

How else to start? Steven Adams first unveiled his moustache during an appearance at NBA media day last season, a move which was a low-key troll in and of itself. It was soon gone only to reappear as part of a full-on 2K15/16 rebrand that saw him go from crew-cut and clean-shaven to a full on reincarnation of Ralph Hotere.

Here’s how he described his work of art in an interview with GQ magazine earlier this year:

“At the start of this season, I grew out my facial hair because I actually could. I guess I went through puberty, so now that’s a thing. So that’s brilliant. I stuck with a mustache because... do you know Magnum P.I.?”

GQ: “Like Tom Selleck?”

“Yeah. Idol. He is brilliant. I wanted to go more in his direction, which is a lot of just testosterone and man. I can’t compete with him yet, so that’s why I’m taking a more elegant approach with the wax.”

GQ: “Your hair is also long now. What led to you growing it out?”

“I think I look really weird with short hair. So I figured if I’ve got a mustache, I think it looks less creepy with long hair. Like a wild look.”

But the most beautiful part of this whole story is how it’s caught on. Teammate and BFF Enes Kanter has joined the club, which in turn has seen them officially coin themselves The Stache Brothers. They have printed t-shirts and everything, which Kanter got made for Adams.

As for the attention...

“It's mostly dudes,” Adams told The Oklahoman. “You get the good compliments from the guys, like 'yeah, rock on'. They're so proud. They don't want to do it, but they know it's a manly thing and they appreciate us for doing it.

“Women? No, not a chance, they're like "eeewww, eeewww”. We don’t care, though.”


Steven Adams = Khal Drogo?

Spoiler alert: Steven Adams probably doesn’t watch Game of Thrones. During his summer break, when he was in Croatia, Adams said he was constantly approached by people asking him for photos because they mistook him for the similarly unkempt and good looking Jason Momoa.

“It kind of bummed me out a little bit, actually, because I thought for a minute they had Thunder fans in Croatia,” he said. “But then they were like, “Thanks, Khal Drogo!” and I was like, “Who in the bloody hell is Khal Drogo?”

“But actually, looking like him has actually helped me out at a lot of clubs and stuff. V.I.P. treatment.”


Endorsement deals

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Photo: Handmade La Conner

Forget Nike, forget Adidas. Handmade La Conner is where it’s at, my friends.

In their own words:

“We are so excited to be partnering with our first ever athlete for a mustache wax! As you may know, professional basketball player Steven Adams has a pretty sweet mustache, and turns out he uses our mustache wax to style it.

“Steven told us his favorite scent was Oakmoss + Whiskey (mine too!) so we put a little twist on it and added a bit of rosewood essential oil to the mix. To apply this mustache wax, we recommend using a blow dryer to heat the wax up, work quickly, and use a blow dryer to set the wax. It is extra firm, for detailed mustache styling, just like Steven's.”

You bloody beaut.


Enjoying the offseason

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Photo: Twitter

This is easily one of the best tweets of all time.


‘The halal takeover’

Enes Kanter.

Enes Kanter. Photo: Photosport NZ

The arrival of Adams’ best bro Enes Kanter to OKC meant some modifications would be needed. And we’re not just talking about what happens on the court. Kanter is the only Muslim on the team which is something that could’ve theoretically presented some obstacles.

The Thunder were quick to adapt. Kanter, who is Turkish-born, has his own prayer room in the team’s arena and he uses the office of owner Clay Bennett to complete his daily prayers when the boys are at their practice center. Thunder chefs are also sure to only use halal food when catering to Kanter and to prepare the food with separate kitchenware.

“But what happened next was something no one anticipated, according to The Wall Street Journal. The halal takeover started when Thunder center Steven Adams asked Kanter if he would share his post-game dinner. “Pretty much as soon as he came in,” Adams said, “I just told him that I’m eating his food, so I told the guys to order double.”

“Westbrook and Serge Ibaka then began tearing into the halal trays. Before long, Thunder officials were searching the Internet for the top-rated Turkish and Middle Eastern restaurants in other cities when the team was on the road, all so they could feed a full lineup of NBA players with enormous appetites.”


Trick or treat

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Photo: Twitter

Steven Adams channelling Heath Ledger channelling… Tom Waits? Sure! Can you imagine seeing a seven foot dude dressed up as The Joker IRL? The best part of this isn’t even Steven Adams, it’s Russell Westbrook dressed as Steven Adams. The moustache, the hair, the tattoos, everything. OKC might never win a title but at least we’ll always have these memories.


The interviews

If only Russell Westbrook was to fashion what Steven Adams is to interviews.

That video right there came after Adams made a crucial buzzer beater in OKC’s playoff series against Dallas Mavericks only to have it waved off because it came a split second too late. His reply when asked about how you supposed to move past something like that: “Just gotta let it go, mate. Treat it like an ex-girlfriend.”

Here he is talking about getting fooled by Tim Duncan:

“He's a nice guy. That was my biggest mistake as a rookie. I was like, hitting him all the time, and he was having trouble with it. And then he came over and, like, talked to me a bit. He was like, 'Hey man, how are you?' And I was like, 'Oh, what a nice guy.' Then he just dropped 20 from thereon.”

And working on his range:

“Been working on my threes and stuff like that. Might pop one out this series. Never know, mate. Never know.”


The Silent Bully

The odds of Malice at the Palace or whatever happening ever again seem pretty rare in the NBA these days, but Adams is doing his best to change that. He’s been voted one of the dirtiest players, but that does a disservice to his level of professional antagonism. He is a habitual line stepper, but he’s also extra subtle about it all too, which is just the best. Can we please continue to call him The Silent Bully?

Watching him rark up other millionaires like him will never not be entertaining. Basketball is the best sport, except when you start messing with Boogie. DO NOT MESS WITH BOOGIE.


How could you not love this guy?

BRB I’m going to get a tattoo of Steven Adams on my leg.