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There are a lot of unusual things to report about Alvan Adams, beyond the fact that he is an extraordinarily good 6'9", 210-pound white rookie center in the National Basketball Association. Like the spelling of his first name, which he says is from "one of those long lists" in the Old Testament. Like his college grades, which were good enough to get him into medical school had he chosen to go that route. And like his appetite. Indeed, Adams has a good chance for a rare double: to become both Rookie of the Year and Trencherman of the Year in the NBA.
Adams, who plays for the Phoenix Suns, was the lone rookie picked for this year's NBA All-Star Game. Since he was behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he played only 11 minutes and when he got back to Phoenix he was asked if he was disappointed.
"Yes," he said. "If I had known Kareem wasn't going to make it to the banquet, I would have eaten his salad. I would have eaten his steak, too. The only thing that stopped me was that I was afraid he'd walk in when I was halfway done. He might have been upset."
Suns publicist Tom Ambrose remembers asking Adams to make a 5-to-7 p.m. appearance at the grand opening of a fast-food stand.
"Well, I don't know if I can eat for two straight hours," said Adams. "Alvan," said Ambrose, "it's not an eating contest, it's a public appearance."
John Shumate, who was with the Suns at the time, was supposed to go to the opening, too, but took sick and could not. According to Ambrose, Adams ate enough for both of them while talking amiably with the customers. Toward the end he seemed to be nearly full but reached deep within himself like a true champion and made a finishing sprint: a taco and a double cheeseburger.
There is, of course, more to Adams than a digestive tract, as opponents have discovered:
?In a game against Los Angeles he scored 35 points, had four steals, eight assists and a blocked shot.
?In a game against Philadelphia he scored 30 points, had three steals, six assists, 18 rebounds and three blocked shots.
?In a game against the champion Golden State Warriors he scored 33 points, had two steals, 10 rebounds, seven assists and four blocked shots.