Following Oklahoma City’s 108-102 game one victory over the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals on Monday night at Oracle Arena, Thunder center Steve Adams referred to Golden State guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson as “quick little monkeys” in a postgame interview with ESPN’s Chris Broussard. The comments by Adams immediately caught fire on social media following the game, and Adams was forced to issue an apology for his words on Tuesday.
Statement from Adams via USA Today Sports:
“I wasn’t thinking straight. I didn’t know it was going to upset anyone, but I’m truly sorry. It was just a poor choice of words. I was just trying to express how difficult it was chasing those guys around.”
Adams also claimed in his apology to USA Today Sports that he understands how his monkey reference to Curry/Thompson can be perceived as racist, but, his understanding of the phrase is perceived differently in his cultural background (New Zealand).
“It’s just different, mate. Different words, different expressions, and stuff like that. But they obviously can be taken differently, depending on which country you’re in. I’m assimilating, mate, still trying to figure out the boundaries. But I definitely overstepped them tonight.”
In today’s day and age, the media loves to jump all over stories that involve race (specifically, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith). Steven Adams obviously shouldn’t have said the things that he said to Chris Broussard last night, but he so clearly was not trying to label Steph and Klay as monkeys based on their African-American heritage. Adams’ comments were clearly pertaining to the idea of Curry and Thompson both being quick with the basketball and that it was hard to guard the two of them. Adams was not inciting that Curry and Thomson are quick African-American “monkeys.” However, the media and many people on the Internet and the Twitter-sphere are making Steve Adams out to be a klansman. Again, Adams definitely should have chosen a different set of words to describe his opponents, but in his culture, that saying is okay. In America, where everything race-related is extremely sensitive, that saying is not okay. But, are we really going to crucify Steve Adams for this set of comments and take away from the real story that is on the court? Seems a bit frivolous to not talk about Steph/Klay vs. KD/Westbrook and have this be the major headline from last night’s incredible game one, but that is the way sports media works these days. Strange world.