Family pride after Adams drafted by Thunder

MARC HINTON AND SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 13:17 28/06/2013
Steven Adams
Getty Images
NBA BECKONS: Kiwi Steven Adams has made history as the first New Zealand basketballer to go in the first round of the NBA draft.
Blossom Cameron
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
OVER THE MOON: Blossom Cameron reacts to Steven Adams' NBA selection.

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From one sporting superstar to another, Kiwi shot put queen Valerie Adams has spoken of her pride at seeing little brother Steven take a giant stride into the NBA.

Steven Adams was today picked by the Oklahoma City Thunder at No 12 in the NBA's draft in Brooklyn, New York.

He receives a guaranteed two-year contract and will be paid a salary of well over $2 million a year as he sets out in the world's greatest hoops league.

He also gets to play alongside All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for one of the best teams in the league.

Valerie kicked off a sensational sporting day for the family just hours before the draft when she won the shot put at the Golden Spike meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic, with a 2013 world's best throw of  20.88m.

"I got 'Adams Day' off to a good start, I've done my bit, now it's Steve's turn," Adams told Fairfax Media from Ostrava.

The double Olympic shot put champion was unable to watch the live telecast of the draft because of the time difference, travel commitments and the need to get some sleep, but said she would be in catch-up mode when she awoke.

"I've actually got to go to sleep because I've got to catch a bus early in the morning to get back to Austria and then fly back to Switzerland.

"As soon as I wake up I'll be getting on to it, that's for sure."

But Adams was rapt her brother had realised his dream.

"I'm super, super happy for him," she said. "It's amazing, he's done the family very proud and I wish him all the best. I hope he takes every opportunity that comes to him and he looks after himself, first and foremost."

Valerie also emphasised one important thing for her superstar sibling.

"I want him to enjoy what he does, have a smile on his face and be happy playing basketball," she said. "Being the best he can be will make his career successful.

"It's an amazing day for basketball in New Zealand and our family."

Steven and Valerie are part of 18 siblings in the extended Adams clan, though they have been easily the most successful in the sporting arena.

Older brothers Ralph and Warren Adams both played for the Tall Blacks during successful basketball careers and it was Warren who plucked Steven from a bad situation in Rotorua and took him to Wellington where he came under the care of "fairy godmother" Blossom Cameron and hoops mentor Kenny McFadden.

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Meanwhile surrounded by friends and colleagues, a nervous Cameron said she was thrilled at the pick.

Adams' legal guardian sped across the road from her workplace to watch the draft at a Wellington sports bar.

She last spoke to him three days ago and while nervous, he had been looking forward to the draft and attending with two of his brothers.

Going to the Thunder was a dream come true, she said.

"The thing is they're a young team, they'll be able to handle him."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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