Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams has become the pin-up boy to a generation of sports fans in New Zealand after his heroics for the Oklahoma City Thunder the past couple of seasons but he's made a big impression on some teammates too.

The seven foot 23-year-old centre has come back to New Zealand for a couple of weeks and brought a number of his Thunder teammates, coaching staff and front office staff with him.

One of those to make the trip is guard Andre Roberson who is a close friend of Adams.

"That's my man," Roberson tells of the Rotorua product. "We were drafted together so we clicked right from day one.


"He is just a great guy with great heart. You can actually see that on court. A lot of guys try to get under his skin and he doesn't let it affect him - he brushes it off and keeps on moving.

"He is always giving back, sharing and giving advice."

Roberson, who hails from San Antonio in Texas, says Adams wanted to give his mates in the US a taste of Kiwiana and also to give New Zealand a taste of the NBA.

"He brought us all over here to experience and enjoy the culture of his home town and to meet his family so it shows a great amount of character in him and that is what I appreciate about him the most," the 24-year-old guard says.

"We took a little trip to Rangitoto and that was a beautiful sight just overseeing all of Auckland and the surrounding islands.

"The food here is amazing. Every place he has taken us to has been great."

Roberson says it is important for basketball players to get a bit of time away from the serious aspects of the sport during the off-season - especially given the fact the Thunder went to a deciding Game 7 in the Western Conference Finals this year.

"Definitely it is big for us. We are in season eight out of 12 months if you make the playoffs. It is very important to re-charge, get off your feet and get away from basketball every once in a while.

"You have to find a fine balance between getting in the gym and staying in shape though."

With superstar forward Kevin Durant signing with the rival Golden State Warriors earlier in the off-season many experts are predicting the Thunder to struggle to compete with the best teams in the league this coming season but fellow star Russell Westbrook re-signed with OKC and the addition of shooting guard Victor Oladipo gives the Thunder a scorer to help replace Durant.

Roberson thinks his side hasn't lost as much as people believe.

"I feel like we have a great core still. I think we can definitely be NBA contenders."