NBA star Steven Adams has ruled himself out of New Zealand's FIBA World Cup campaign, continuing a mysterious career-long stance to be unavailable for his country.
Adams' management group released a brief statement on Monday, confirming the Oklahoma City Thunder centre won't be part of the Tall Blacks team who compete at the flagship tournament in China in September.
The 25-year-old has never been available for international duty and never fully explained why.
Early in his Thunder career, Adams hinted at the need to establish himself in the NBA after being selected at No.12 in the 2013 draft.
Now a six-season NBA veteran and easily New Zealand's most accomplished player, he has continued his exile through a vague statement from his US-based management on Monday.
"Steven's support of the Tall Blacks and his interest in playing for the programme at some point down the line is unwavering," the management group said.
"While he won't be participating this year with the national team, his plan is to evaluate the opportunity to play in the 2020 Olympics following the upcoming NBA season."
New Zealand's highest-paid sportsman dropped a hint in his 2018 biography that he felt resentment towards Basketball NZ because of its policy towards junior players.
The cash-strapped organisation had asked a teenaged Adams and his former national age-group teammates to fund their own involvement in New Zealand age group team camps and tournaments. That was something he believed was morally wrong as it stymied the progress of less well-off youngsters.
Basketball NZ management and Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare have maintained the same position for several years - that the door is open for Adams when he feels the time is right.
New Zealand must finish the World Cup ranked higher than Australia if they are to book an automatic Oceania berth at the Tokyo Olympics. Otherwise a tough qualifying process awaits.
The Boomers have named eight NBA-aligned players in their initial 19-strong squad for the World Cup.