Ball in Steven Adams' court after snubbing Tall Blacks

Sunday Sport 17/06/2018
Photo credit: Getty.

NBA star Steven Adams' decision to not play for the Tall Blacks is his and his alone.

Basketball New Zealand chief executive Iain Potter remains hopeful the Oklahoma City Thunder centre will one day put on the black singlet, but understands why he rejected the call up for their upcoming FIBA World Cup qualifiers against Hong Kong and China.

Speaking to Andrew Gourdie and Jim Kayes on RadioLIVE, Potter admits he, like most Kiwi fans, got caught up in the buzz of Adams finally representing the silver fern.

"It is a hope; he is New Zealand's greatest basketballer, we hope to see him in the black singlet - and he does say 'when', rather than 'if'," he said.

"We were hopeful this time, because it is the first FIBA window that falls in the off-season for the NBA, so I think we're entitled to be hopeful, but we're not entitled to expect him to play.

"We understand that it's complicated for him. We did let our hopes get up a little bit because it was in here in New Zealand and we felt it would be less taxing on him.

"With the World Cup next, again we will hope. We're entitled to hope, we're just not entitled to expect or demand."

With growing doubts at Basketball NZ over the Oklahoma City Thunder's involvement in Adams' stance on international games, Potter was assured by the NBA franchise's general manager Sam Presti that they had given him the green light to play.

Potter said their discussion with the Thunder has led them to believe the NBA side are perfectly fine with Adams playing international basketball - but the Kiwi doesn't feel up to it.

"We have a real good, open, honest, transparent sort of relationship," he said.

"There's nothing more we can do in terms of providing player health, safety, welfare environment.

"It's about his personal circumstances and we got a statement from his agent saying 'Steve's had a long NBA season, he really needs this period to refresh, regenerate, recondition etc.'"

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