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Thunder Player Back Home in New Zealand

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Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams is back home in New Zealand and helping coach some young basketball players at the New Zealand Basketball Academy in Wellington.

An article in the New Zealand Herald reported on Adams’ return to his home country to help some of the rising basketball stars in that nation.

Many of the young players have known Adams for years and were thrilled to have him back home after his rookie season in the NBA with the Thunder.

Natasha Pilitati, 16, said it was “so intimidating” to be training in front of “a big NBA star”.

“Everybody was making sure they were doing it all perfect,” she said.

“I watch all the games, it’s so amazing because he’s just a guy from Wellington.”

Sharnay Leef, 12, said Adams was encouraging to the young players.

“It was really good, but there was a bit of pressure with him there.”

 Head trainer Gavin Cross said it was just like old times having Adams back at training.

“Some of those kids were pretty excited, there was a bit of a queue afterwards for autographs and photos. He was really pleased too,” Cross said.

“He made time for all of the kids and took time with everybody,” Cross said.

Joe Webb has been playing basketball with Adams since he was 13, and it was a chance for him to catch up with his old friend.

“It’s good to see him … he’s one of my good mates. He hasn’t changed a bit, he’s just the same good dude.”

“It’s just like him to give back to up-and-coming basketball players.”

Adams is not planning to play for New Zealand’s national team this summer, but will instead play for the Thunder in the NBA Summer League.