Locals gathered around TV screens in support of Rotorua's Steven Adams as he played the most important game of his career today.

Adams' team Oklahoma City Thunder had to beat the Golden State Warriors to make it to the NBA finals.

Unfortunately for Adams and the Thunder the final score, 96-88, went the way of the Warriors.

Among the supporters watching the game at the Ruck 'n Maul sports bar was Ebrahim Soloman with his father Louis Te Kani.


"In 2013 I watched him play his first ever game in the US, I've always been a fan. I grew up playing with his siblings.

"No one else will get this far from New Zealand, it's good to support him," Mr Soloman said.

Mr Te Kani said although he was a fan of Adams he wasn't the only he was watching.

"To be perfectly honest, I'm a Golden State Warriors fan, but it's wonderful to see a Rotorua boy do well.

"It's so inspiring, he inspires a lot of young people. When we have people of his calibre doing beneficial things it can only be beneficial to young people.

"It's a wonderful atmosphere being here and watching him, obviously I would like to be at the game."

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Bea Yates, or 'Aunty Bea' as she is affectionately known, used to teach Adams at Rotorua Lakes High School. She watched the game from the comfort of her own home.

She said she was disappointed in the result, but was still proud of Adams.

"I thought that they lacked a little bit of fire. They didn't play as well as they normally do. But I'm still really proud of Steven. There will be other chances.

"They were so close to winning. I just want to say keep on trying, there's always another year, always another chance. Kia kaha.

"I still think he was the best looking one on the court. We have a treasure in our community."

The Golden State Warriors now advance to the finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers which start on June 2.