Adams, Apiata inspire QT teens
Despite not wearing his trademark camo jacket, NBA superstar Steven Adams still got a rousing reception at Wakatipu High School last week.
The Oklahoma City Thunder centre visited the school on Thursday accompanied by Kiwi war hero and Victoria Cross winner Willie Apiata.
Wakatipu High School principal Steve Hall said the pupils - who had not been told Adams and Apiata were coming - were ‘‘pretty blown away’’ by the visit.
‘‘For us it was an amazing thing to happen for our school,’’ Hall said.
‘‘There was this real sense of humility.
‘‘[They are] a couple of absolutely remarkable gentlemen.’’
The pair spoke to the pupils about preparation, resilience and confidence.
‘‘[They spoke] about failure and that things are going to go wrong and we need to bounce back and be OK with that.’’
Adams recounted not being able to dribble with his left hand, while Apiata detailed how he was not accepted to the SAS the first time he tried.
The war veteran bought along his medals, including the Victoria Cross, which he passed around the pupils.
‘‘He’s [Apiata] a very special New Zealander,’’ Hall said.
The visit was facilitated by New Zealand Maori Tourism and had taken months of planning, he said.
The Thunder facebook page reported Adams’ message to the hoards of star-struck teens was: ‘‘Don’t be afraid of failure and always be yourself.’’
Adams was in Queenstown with teammates Nick Collison and Andre Roberson on a break from hosting basketball camps for kids around New Zealand.
He dined at an undisclosed location with Apiata and local MP Todd Barclay in Queenstown on Tuesday night, stopping for a snapshot with Barclay outside Brazz on Ballarat St.
Adams landed at Queenstown Airport from Wellington with his entourage about 1pm last Tuesday.
He was quickly whisked away after a brief meeting with officials inside the terminal.
A man claiming to be his brother said Adams wanted to keep the visit low-key.
On Monday Adams, Roberson and Collison visited Prime Minister John Key at the Beehive. Adams presented Key with one of his No 12 playing shirts.
Oklahoma City Thunder basketball player Steven Adams visited Wakatipu High School on Thursday.