Steven Adams’ Unique Stance Amidst Complaints in the NBA Bubble: ‘This Is Not Syria’

During his seven seasons with the Thunder, Steven Adams has built a reputation as one of the toughest big men in the NBA. The center proves to be a true team-first player — a rarity in today’s NBA. This willingness to fit in likely stems in part from his New Zealand childhood, where Adams was the youngest of his father’s 18 children.

Adams’ background has also given him a unique perspective with regard to the privileges of life as a celebrity athlete. His humble attitude recently came up in comments regarding the current NBA restart in Orlando, which some players have complained about. Let’s look at the complaints in the bubble, Adams’ response, and the Thunder’s playoff prospects.

Criticisms of life in the bubble

There’s no denying that life in the NBA bubble is vastly different than what most players experienced in a pre-COVID-19 world. Yet the fact that the season is starting back up again at all is something of a minor miracle — not to mention the result of tons of hard work by the league. Of course, that hasn’t stopped players from griping about various shortcomings.

At first, it was the food, with numerous players posting social media photos of the unusual, under-sized, and just plain unsatisfying meals they’d been served. Soon players began voicing other complaints as well. The rooms were too drab and too small. There weren’t enough blankets on the beds. The wi-fi was too slow. Virtually every aspect of the bubble seemed to garner some criticism.

Adams’ response to bubble complaints

Adams had no interest in joining the chorus of players trash-talking the league’s accommodations at Disney World. In a recent interview, he was asked what he thought about conditions in the bubble. Adams’ initial answer was: “It’s all good, mate.” He then went on to throw shade at complainers, adding, “Let’s be clear, this is not Syria.”

In other words, rather than grousing about relatively minor inconveniences, Adams showed his ability to put his experience within a broader global context. He then went on to acknowledge that:

“Everyone’s got a complaint. Everyone’s got their own preferences, but it’s not anything too serious. Just a bit of dry food here and there, get bored every now and then. But it’s all good.”

Steven Adams on the NBA bubble

As Adams pointed out, however lackluster NBA players may find their Disney World accommodations, at the end of the day they are lucky enough to be “living in a bloody resort.”

The Thunder’s playoff prospects

It’s difficult for even the most knowledgeable league insiders to predict how the Thunder will fare once postseason basketball gets underway. Before the season started, ESPN gave the Thunder a dismal 0.2% chance of even getting to the playoffs. Instead, the Thunder have stormed their way to a more-than-respectable 42-25 record.

At the moment, this puts the Thunder in fifth place in the Western Conference — half a game behind the Rockets. If you ask OKC, they’re confident in their ability to compete against just about any team in the conference. This includes the No. 1 Lakers, who they recently defeated in a wire-to-wire win.

A lot of their success comes down to the stellar play and leadership of point guard Chris Paul. He has a strong case as the most lethal clutch scorer in the league. Meanwhile, forward Danilo Gallinari has contributed at a high level all season. He’s averaging 19.2 points per game and knocking down more than 40% of his three-point attempts. At this rate, nobody in the league would be surprised to see the Thunder make a deep playoff run.