Steven Adams has expressed his surprise at meeting another Polynesian athlete on the NBA court.

Adams, who is part Tongan, told the media in Auckland yesterday about his hilarious encounter with Miami Heat player James Johnson who is part Samoan.

The 25-year-old Kiwi said he noticed Johnson's Polynesian tattoos during a game, and was surprised.

"He just had Samoan tatts on his calf and I was like 'oh uce?'" said Adams.

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"And he was just like 'sup uce.'

"I was like 'what the? You're the man.'"

"Uce" is a shortened version of "uso", which is the Samoan word for brother.

Adams is back in New Zealand hosting his annual camps for young basketball players around the country – beginning in Auckland, then in Palmerston North and Dunedin.