Steven Adams will not be appearing in a Tall Blacks singlet for the World Cup later this year, but has left the door open for a potential appearance at next year's Olympics.
After being named last week in the preliminary 27-man squad, the Oklahoma City Thunder star today was ruled out by Basketball NZ, who confirmed they’d received a statement from Adams’ management.
His agent from Wasserman Media Group said:
“Steven’s support of the Tall Blacks and his interest in playing for the program at some point down the line is unwavering. While he won’t be participating this year with the National Team, his plan is to evaluate the opportunity to play in the 2020 Olympics following the upcoming NBA season.”
To qualify for the Olympics, the Tall Blacks must finish higher than other teams in the Oceania region at the 2019 FIBA World Cup (which essentially means finishing higher than Australia), or be one of the top four teams from 24 that will compete in the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in June 2020. The World Cup starts on August 31 in China, with New Zealand’s first game against Brazil the next day.
Adams was last week named as one of the world’s top 100 richest athletes by Forbes magazine.