Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams has already been making waves in his short professional career with his physical play and no-nonsense attitude endearing the rookie to Oklahoma City Thunder fans.
But the 20-year-old has one person to thank for his unflappable style: sister Valerie Adams.
Steven is the youngest of 18 children including his Olympic champion sister, and the rough-and-tumble environment they grew up in helped mould their physical prowess today.
"Have you seen my sister?" Adams told The Oklahoman. "Look her up, bro.
"She's strong," he says.
"My family is really strong. So getting hit by them is really painful. But you can't say something about it, especially being the youngest. If you're the youngest and you say something, you'll get more hits."
Steven has already had a few run-ins this season with 6'6" Vince Carter and 6'11 Larry Sanders. Earlier this season, Sanders was injured in a bar fight, and has been ejected from an NBA game after sending a couple of forearms into Steven's face.
But Steven says these tussles are nothing compared to what happens on the rugby field.
"Dudes in rugby in that pile, they get punched, kneed and all that," he said. "They could be bleeding and stuff, they still have to go on and play."
Thunder teammate Nick Collison has spent 10 years in the NBA and is a fan of the young centre's ability to not take any bruising play to heart.
"When he gets hit, it doesn't bother him,” Collison said. "He doesn't take it personally like a lot of guys in our league do, where they think someone is out to get them."
Adams is in Memphis taking on the Grizzlies today with a physical match-up against Zach Randolph expected.
source: newshub archive