Starting lineup introductions are a staple of the NBA, with a variety of hype up videos, music, mascots waving flags and sometimes pyrotechnics to get the crowd and players excited for tipoff.
As the players on both sides are announced, the PA announcer will usually list their position, height and school they attended prior to the NBA (or the country they resided in prior to coming over). For most, this is straight forward, but some have noticed that Steven Adams, who went to the University of Pittsburgh, lists New Zealand over his alma mater.
Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript asked Adams why he made that choice, as some have pondered if it’s some kind of jab at Pitt (this has been the case at times in the NFL for the televised starting lineups when they get to say where they’re from). Adams offered a very good explanation for why he chooses New Zealand over Pitt, noting that it’s different for one and that he’s more identifiable with New Zealand than he is Pitt basketball.
“It’s where I’m from. I think it fits better, no. It’s a bit more different as well. Everyone’s saying their university and stuff, and it’s like, eh, I’m from New Zealand.”
[So it’s a pride thing?]
“You could say that. Definitely. Definitely proud of being a New Zealander.”
[It’s not a knock on Pitt at all, is it?]
“No. I like my country more than Pitt. Put it that way. So I chose New Zealand.”
This is a very valid explanation from Adams. The majority of fans likely associate him with New Zealand over Pitt anyway, and we know he is proud of being a Kiwi. But any Pitt fans worried he doesn’t want to be associated with them can rest easy that he’s not ashamed of his Panthers.