When 7-footer Steven Adams grabbed 17 rebounds in Game 2 of the second round series against the Spurs, it was one for each of his 17 siblings. Make that 17 older siblings. The 23-year-old New Zealander is the youngest of his late father Sid’s 18 kids. The men average 6’9″. His sister Valerie, 6’4″, won Olympic Gold in the shot put at the 2008 and 2012 Games. Being the youngest in a crazily athletic family will make you hungry for success. Adams got financial help to an exclusive prep school where he focused on basketball. It has worked out well for the unflappable Adams — a still-developing force so powerful that even opposing fans try to help stop him.
Adams’ imposing physical presence is augmented by his style of play — he brings a ferocious energy level that players his size aren’t commonly known for. That’s what makes Adams’ rebounding so outstanding — he’s tireless. You could credit his height, but even at 7-feet he’s not always the tallest player on the floor in the NBA. Credit for the hunger that drives his rebounding prowess might go to his high school coach, who first gave him the goal to get a “tip dunk” during a game. To get one you have to track the ball with laser precision, create a clear path to the basket through footwork, have perfect timing, and rise up with ready hands. That’s every ingredient a good rebounder needs. Adams got a tip dunk, after a year of trying, as related by NBA writer Brian Windhorst. Between that tip dunk test and being the youngest of 18 kids, Adams has the prefect resume for rebounding greatness.