An NBA player has apologized after sparking a backlash over a comment he made after his team won a key playoff game. Steven Adams, in an interview with ESPN’s Chris Broussard after his Oklahoma City Thunder opened the Western Conference Finals with a 108-102 win over the Golden State Warriors, called the Warriors guards “quick little monkeys.”
Adams later apologized in a statement to USA Today. “It was just a poor choice of words, mate,” said Adams, who is from New Zealand. “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.”
The apology by the Thunder’s 22-year-old center came after the comment sparked an uproar over its possible racial overtones. However, some observers were giving Adams “a pass” due to differences in dialect — an issue Adams addressed in his comments to USA Today.
“It’s just different, mate,” he told the publication. “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.”