BBNZ hopes Adams keeps basketball in spotlight

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 01/07/2013
Steven Adams
Reuters
KIWI HISTORY: Steven Adams makes history after being drafted by NBA franchise Oklahoma City Thunder.

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Basketball New Zealand believe NBA draftee Steven Adams is a potential golden goose for the game in this country.

However, the national body are the first to admit they're unsure exactly how the sport can leverage its new star or when he will be able to play for the Tall Blacks.

"Its a huge fillip for basketball through the sheer attention that he's getting," BBNZ chief executive Iain Potter said. "The drama associated with his [No 12] pick in the draft has really put the sport in the spotlight."

Simply by being drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder, Adams had provided massive boost to the sport in aspirational terms, Potter said.

Leveraging his new found fame financially was more complicated with Adams' affairs under the control of his management company Wasserman Media Group.

Potter hopes to make contact with the company, but said he was "realistic" about where BBNZ would sit in the pecking order.

"On a more formal level you are talking about promotions and advertising. We'd love for him to contribute, but we need to be fair to him," he said.

"He'll be hugely in demand and his world changed [when he was drafted]. We have to be mindful of our expectations. They need to be realistic, but there are lots of ways we can leverage simply off the fact that he's made it."

One of Potter's first enquiries will be whether Adams will be in New Zealand when the Tall Blacks play their first match on home soil in four years against Australia on August 14.

BBNZ would like to see Adams in a black singlet at some stage, but there are a number of obstacles in the short term.

"We don't expect him to be available in August, but... just to be at the game, sit in the stand, that would be a huge public relations boost for us," Potter said. "The desire to play for the country we hope will be important, but he has to look after himself first and foremost right now and establish himself, make sensible decisions for his career.

"He's right at the beginning and we'd like to think the Tall Blacks might be part of that in the future, but we need to be reasonable in what we expect."

The cost of insuring Adams against injury may be a major barrier to any regular international involvement.

"It's cost and availability, but its our understanding he would need to be covered," Potter said.

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