Last Thursday night, the Miami Heat made Bam Adebayo, a 19-year-old, six-foot-ten, 260-pound power forward/center from the University of Kentucky the newest member of its little basketball club. For Heat fans who scoured mock drafts in the weeks leading up to the draft, this was one helluva curve ball. Few, if any, had Adebayo pegged as a potential Heat pick, making him a surprising, off-the-radar, head-scratcher selection.
Who in hell is Bam Adebayo? fans tweeted. What in hell is Pat Riley up to?! fans vented on Facebook. Pessimism about the Heat's first-round pick hit Miami Dolphins draft-pick levels, pretty much based off zero real information. Nobody knew anything about Adebayo; they just knew he wasn't the name they had in mind.
By now, most Heat fans know the basics: Adebayo's rise from a childhood spent in a single-wide trailer in North Carolina to becoming one of the nation's most sought-after recruits and starring for one year at Kentucky before leaping into the NBA.
But now that a few days have passed since Bam joined the Heat, deeper details about Miami's newest star are pouring into the New Times newsroom. And it's now clear why Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra couldn't stop smiling when they introduced him to Heat fans last week.
His favorite musician is Migos. Just kidding. It's Katy Perry.
Adebayo is only 19, so you won't be seeing him in many South Beach clubs anytime soon. You might catch him at a Katy Perry concert, though.
"I mean, they just see a big dude that’s 6-10 and they think he’s listening to all the hip-hop and stuff like that," Adebayo told Meet the Wildcats before his freshman season at Kentucky. "I just listen to my Katy Perry."
"It’s just her mood toward her music," Bam said of Perry. "She’s always happy and perky. So, I mean, I like to be happy. Might as well listen to happy music."
Well, he's not wrong. If you're wondering which Katy Perry jam Bam loves most (and of course you were), it's "T.G.I.F."
Adebayo once declined an invitation to a Nike basketball camp because he had chemistry homework.
Most high-school seniors check out early. Adebayo was apparently not most high schoolers because he was taking chemistry while most of us were taking indoor soccer. He was taking chemistry so hard in the face, in fact, that he turned down an invitation to the Nike Hoop Summit because he had a big test coming up and needed to study.
Bam had a simple reasoning for making the decision: Bad grades make him feel bad.
“I’m passionate about schoolwork because I don’t like getting bad grades,” Adebayo told Meet the Wildcats. “It makes me feel bad. Getting bad grades is not something I want to do, and being bad on the court is not something [I want to do]."
He doesn't exactly listen to Flo Rida to get pumped up before games.
Bam, as explained above, does not fall inside the standard NBA-musical-taste box. He gives not a single care about what you think he should listen to before game time. Might you guess he listens to Kanye West or Kendrick Lamar to get pumped up? You'd be 100 percent wrong.
"I play one Whitney Houston song ('I Will Always Love You')," Bam told SB Nation's A Sea of Blue, "and after that I’m good."
Bam would appreciate your recommendations about where to find good banana pudding in Miami.
After the Heat drafted Justise Winslow in 2015, New Times uncovered that Winslow's favorite food was a sandwich of peanut butter, grape jelly, and jalapeño peppers on toasted multigrain bread. Now we're here to break the news of what Bam loves to eat most.
Prior to the draft, Sports Illustrated published a great article about Bam and his upbringing. It's worth a read. It mentions Bam's favorite two menu items his mom used to serve for Sunday dinner.
"Marilyn cooked a family dinner every Sunday; if baked ziti or banana pudding was on the menu, Bam was giddy with anticipation hours before the food hit the plate."
Overall, though, Bam pegs good old mac 'n' cheese as his favorite food.
Bam committed to Kentucky on TV while wearing a suit he was given a long time ago.
In 2015, Bam committed to Kentucky on Mike & Mike. That's pretty cool, but the coolest thing is he wore a suit that one of the most influential coaches bought him — in the seventh grade.
Conscientious habits extended beyond the front door, too. When Adebayo committed to Kentucky on Mike & Mike in Nov. 2015, he wore the same suit Graves gave him as a seventh-grader.
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The same coach who gave Bam the suit he wore that day also gave him a picture of the trailer home in which he grew up with the inscription "Never forget where you came from, and never lose sight of where you are going." He still carries the photo wherever he goes so he can always remember where he came from.
Rapid-fire Bam Adebayo fun facts:
- If he isn't playing basketball in South Korea for the 2018 U.S. Olympic basketball team, he might be down to try swimming. Just don't ask him to run track.
- He was a member of the poetry club in high school.
- He didn't start playing basketball until seven years ago, when his friends made him play a street game. According to Bam himself, he "sucked" at first. Reports are he does not suck at basketball anymore.
- His birth name is Edrice. His mom nicknamed him Bam after a 1-year-old Adebayo flipped a coffee table while they were watching The Flintstones.
- Bam's favorite movie is Step Brothers, and his favorite TV show is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- Bam was so used to dominating smaller players in high school that he asked Rasheed Wallace to help him get used to playing against taller guys before he went to Kentucky.
- Favorite superhero: Batman.
- Favorite NBA player of all time: Kobe Bryant.
- Favorite hobby outside of playing basketball: playing NBA2K.
- Bam Adebayo was born July 18, 1997. This fact exists simply to make you feel old.
- The first time Bam dunked a basketball was in the sixth grade. The sixth grade.