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Steven Adams praises 'level-headed' Kiwis in comparing NZ's, America's Covid-19 responses

Steven Adams has detailed New Zealand’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic to NBA and US fans, saying Kiwis have been “pretty level-headed” when it comes to it.

Steven Adams arrives for a New Orleans Pelicans game wearing a mask. Source: New Orleans Pelicans

Adams spoke on The Old Man and the Three podcast – which features New Orleans Pelicans teammate JJ Redick along with Tommy Alter – and compared New Zealand’s response to that of the US, who are still having serious issues with the pandemic.

Adams compared the two having spent time both in the US and in New Zealand over the past year, both during the NBA’s off-season and the league’s four-month suspension last year.

"[I] didn't have any trouble [getting into New Zealand]. Once I came in I had to isolate for two weeks, it was pretty intense," Adams said.

"It isn't like you just show up and they say, 'cool, get out of here'. You have to write down your number, your Skype address, where you're staying and then they check up on you, and they'll send local police to go and have a look if you're actually isolating - it wasn't just some piss around sort of thing.

"There was more going on there than when I had to come back to America.

"When I had to come back they were just like, 'oh yeah, just go, get out of here."

Adams said the big difference with New Zealand compared to the US and other countries was Kiwis' ability to seamlessly transition into lockdowns when needed.

"There's no mistrust in the Government, or the authorities. Everyone kind of just followed the rules,” Adams said.

“There was a few mishaps every now and then, but for the most part there's not like some sort of weird social infection that's growing and everyone's just like slowly not going to trust like anything. Everyone's pretty level-headed.

"The biggest advantage [was] how quickly the Government reacted to the situation, so the starting point was probably the most crucial."

During his time in New Zealand, Adams spent the majority of his time at his farm in the Bay of Plenty which he says became a refuge during the pandemic.

"The farm was more of a saviour - because the routine doesn't change.

"As a farmer - the cows don't care, they just need to get looked after. Everything was just normal.

"Especially at that time … so much uncertainty with the future. No one knew what was going on, they were like, 'We're going to bring it back up, NBA's going to start and then next day it was like, 'nah no it's not'.”

Since returning to the US, Adams has moved from his home of seven seasons Oklahoma City to New Orleans after the Thunder traded him to the Pelicans in the off-season.