A little bit of Aotearoa greeted NZ Basketball great Steven Adams on his home court at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma, where a team of youth boys performed the haka ‘Tika tonu’ for him.
The young boys are a part of the group Swish Toki who departed NZ for America on the 8th of this month. They’re not only there to play other young teams in Houston and Oklahoma, but to experience America and have attended three NBA games so far.
The haka, led by Denim Tuala-Fata, was supported by other members of the group and Swish Toki members, including Captain Xavier Clarke-Lloyd, Ayden Montgomerie, Tama Heather, Ryan McGuire, Elijah Brown, Laker Brown and Braxton Payne.
Howevr, Adam’s City Thunder team couldn’t come away with the win in front of the NZ youth team, going down by nine points against the Miami Heat, 107 – 116 was the final score.
The small group were in America during Friday’s terrorist attack in Christchurch and visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum to reflect on the powerful impact of terrorism and violence on the OKC community.
“We couldn’t explain the impact for the boys to really truly understand what’s going on at home,” says Suzie Hiha of Swish Kids Basketball Club, “So to come here whilst it’s a different situation, there’s still a loss and it’s what our world is looking like at the moment and we’ve got young boys who are impressionable and it’s just something we want to share with them...This was the right place to come.”
The Thunder will play the Toronto Raptors today at 2:30pm (NZ Time) at home in Oklahoma.