All New Zealanders love their winners - it's not just fair weather fandom.

Like many New Zealanders I've been a big fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder for a long, long time. Years and years and years.

To be more honest I started following them around the time it was clear that Steven Adams was good. Actually not even that long.

Like hundreds of thousands of Kiwis I've only been a real passionate fan of the OKC since it turned out Adams was really good. Well to be even more honest, I have only been a dyed-in-the-wool fan since they got into the Western Conference Finals.

Actually I really got on board after they won the first game. But I still felt their loss in game six profoundly. It hurt. I was so upset after game 7 that I shaved off my eyebrows in protest. It was over for me and it had only just begun.


We New Zealanders are a bit like the people of The Simpsons' Springfield. If something happens everyone turns up. The Sea Captain, Principal Skinner, his mum, Bumblebee Man, Mr Burns, Smithers, Comic Book Guy. Everyone.

We are pack animals. A few years ago we found ourselves tearing our hearts out over our yachting team in San Francisco. Now most of us hate their guts. In a few weeks we will be ripping our hair out over whatever sitting-down sport we are doing well at in the Olympics. Some people get cynical about this fair weather fandom. They say pick a team and stay staunch through thick and thin. That's cool. I have my beloved Black Caps for that. But bandwagons are great too. When the Black Caps were kicking arse in the Cricket World Cup I was happy to have the bandwagon jumpers on board. Nothing like a good old shared experience bandwagon and they don't get much better than the OKC.

Steven is a Kiwi, doing amazingly at the top level of a game that millions of Americans really care about.

You can't accuse Adams of succeeding in an obscure sport. This is real. This is huge. He's putting us on the map. When he got kicked in the nuts for the second time we were everywhere.

Why do we struggle to "get on the map" ... Why do 100 per cent of overseas people who've heard of us think we are part of Australia?


We deserve to be on the map. We have Air New Zealand, easily the greatest airline in the world, we have the best rugby team, dairy farms, digital effects and fruity wines in the universe. We live in a beautiful, cleanish, peaceful, technologically advanced, wealthy, forward thinking, temperate country. A paradise. We have an amazing female heavy ball thrower, the current best long-haired centre in the NBA and John Key is a regular on the John Oliver show. Not to mention Sir Ed, Rutherford, Helen Clark and everyone's favourite rotund actor Russell Crowe. So why do we struggle to "get on the map?" Why do three quarters of LA taxi drivers not know where we are? Why do 100 per cent of overseas people who've heard of us think we are part of Australia?

The problem is isolation and population. We are a group of islands in the middle of nowhere, 10,000km from the really fun stuff.

We may punch above our weight but there are hardly any of us. On a map there's the world, then Australia, then a big gap and then us, all on our own.

We don't even make the world map at Universal Studios. The big metal iconic globe statue at the park has no New Zealand. This in spite of the fact Peter Jackson and mates have designed an amazingly huge 3D King Kong experience on their Studio tour. You drive past a map with no New Zealand on it on the way to a technological marvel created by New Zealanders. Ironic?

Flying under the radar does have some advantages.

Maybe being a member of the UN security council just makes the bad people of the world aware of us?

Being on the map might put us on the Isis list. Do they follow the NBA? Should Steven Adams tell everyone he's Australian to keep us safe?