Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Guardian keeps watch on NZ's new star

Steven Adams could make NBA history today. Photo / AP
Steven Adams could make NBA history today. Photo / AP

If Steven Adams makes history and steps under the bright lights of the NBA this morning, the woman who guided him there will be watching with pride - and not a trace of disbelief.

"It's not a surprise to me, it was a matter of when," says Blossom Cameron. "It's like when you're having a baby and you don't know what the sex is - it's kinda like, I want to know what team. And then we'll go from there."

Ms Cameron became Adams' legal guardian after he was brought to Wellington as a 14-year-old by his older brother Warren, after the death of his father.

She had similarly helped Warren years earlier. He went on to play for the Tall Blacks, an achievement about to be put in the shade by the baby of 18 siblings.

Adams, 19, is in line to be picked in the first round NBA draft this morning, which will make him an instant millionaire and one of New Zealand's top athletes.

Ms Cameron, a trainer who works at Les Mills in Wellington, has cancelled her clients and will watch the draft with friends at a sports bar.

She has also been in frequent touch with Adams, who has been joined in the United States by two of his brothers for the announcement.

"I just want him to enjoy them, enjoy the journey, and the whole experience ... it's just mind-blowing."

In his own words, Adams was "rough" when he arrived in Wellington. Ms Cameron taught him life skills and gave him a stable environment. His potential was always evident, she says.

"You can't coach height, at the end of the day. And this is a game about height. So really, everything else just had to be put in place.

"And he had to want it as well. But otherwise, he was just like an unbroken racehorse to me ... with good bloodlines."

The brother of Olympic shot-put champion Valerie Adams demonstrated talent in athletics and many other sports, Ms Cameron says:

"He puts his mind to it, he will achieve it."

Steven Adams vital statistics

- NZ Herald

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