Steven Adams doesn’t know much of PH hoops, but he knows Kobe Paras

Jane Bracher

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Steven Adams doesn’t know much of PH hoops, but he knows Kobe Paras
Aside from Paras, Adams has in the past played with Filipino teams back home in New Zealand

MANILA, Philippines – Like nearly every other NBA player, Steven Adams has heard of how crazy Filipinos are about basketball. But he’s also heard of one particular Pinoy player: Kobe Paras.

“It’s just that you guys are crazy passionate about it. Every country’s like passionate about it but you guys are a new level type of passion,” the 7-foot center of the Oklahoma City Thunder told Rappler during a one-on-one interview with Rappler on Tuesday, July 18 at the NBA Store in Glorietta.

“They were telling me about a kid, Kobe. His name is Kobe and he’s signing to CalState?” Adams added, unsure of his intel, as if it may be a hoax that there exists a rising baller named after the Los Angeles Lakers legend himself Kobe Bryant.

Rappler confirmed to Adams that there was, indeed, one Filipino Kobe Paras hoping to make his NBA dreams a reality.

“They were telling me about him and that’s amazing,” Adams then stated. “That’s really good for the Philippines. That’s the only player I know.”

Paras has placed himself in the NBA stream of consciousness as he studies and plays in the US. The 19-year-old, who is currently playing for the Philippine national team at the Jones Cup in Taiwan and later on at the Southeast Asian Games next month, also earned praise from Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez.

Lopez said in May during his Manila visit that Paras was a “role model” for chasing his NBA dream.

Adams, who is in Manila to promote the NBA Philippines 3X event with its 3-on-3 tournaments, also experienced firsthand the enormity of Filipinos’ basketball obsession when he was back home in New Zealand.

“We have a big Filipino community in New Zealand,” he told reporters of an experience that also served as a microcosm of Filipinos’ love for Bryant (and possibly why Kobe Paras was named after the legend). 

“I’ve played in a couple of tournaments with Filipino teams. And the whole team wanted to be Kobe Bryant, doing fadeaways and all the cool stuff. It was funny to watch.”

There may be a prime opportunity for Adams to get to know more of Philippine basketball should he suit up for the Tall Blacks, New Zealand’s national basketball team, soon enough. (READ: Steven Adams will play for NZ national team ‘when time is right’)

Both the Philippines and New Zealand are in the same FIBA zone now with the merging of FIBA Asia and FIBA Oceania. The two countries could meet at next month’s FIBA Asia Cup and later on, potentially, at some point in the Asian Qualifier. –

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