Five things you might not know about Lane Adams, the 27-year-old rookie outfielder who had the winning RBI in each of the Braves’ past two home games before Saturday, on an 11th-inning walk-off homer Sept. 10 against the Marlins and a fifth-inning sacrifice fly in Friday’s 3-2 win against the Mets.
1. He graduated from tiny Red Oak (Okla.) high school as the fifth-leading scorer in Oklahoma high-school history, and averaged more than 30 points a game as a senior for a state championship team. Adams was a 6-foot-3 combo guard and had interest from several major-college programs before schools got win that was likely to be selected in the baseball draft and sign, which he did after being taken by the Royals in the 13th round in 2009.
2. Adams is proud to be part Native American and a member of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and sometimes wears a T-shirt with “Choctaw” emblazoned across the chest. He has a card in his wallet that states his Choctaw heritage.
3. He considered quitting baseball last summer after being released by the Yankees while in their minor league system, and thought about going to college and pursuing a career in basketball. Adams says dunking a basketball remains one of his favorite activities and that his vertical leap was measured at more than 40 inches every year until this past spring, when he came in under 40. “That was a little defeating,” he said, smiling. “Time’s catching up with me.”
Given his success with the Braves this season, he’s quite glad his family convinced him to continue with baseball and glad that he chose baseball out of high school instead of going to play hoops at Southwest Missouri State, where he had committed to play if he didn’t sign with the Royals. “I’d have been done with college four years ago, there’s no telling what I’d be doing now,” he said. “It’s just weird how things work out.”
4. Adams spends the offseason at home in Oklahoma City with his girlfriend and has been known to spend several hundred dollars apiece for tickets to see LeBron James when the Cleveland Cavaliers visit OKC.
He steadfastly insists that James is a better player than Michael Jordan was, and even if he’s wrong Adams will engage in impassioned debate and give you the reasons he believes this to be true, and he will not tire of this debate no matter how long you try to convince him he’s wrong.
5. Adams, who is either the fastest of second-fastest Braves player – Ozzie Albies is the only one who could hang with him -- never ran track because his small high school didn’t have a team. Not that he would’ve run if they did. “I wouldn’t run for fun,” he said. Although this observer, a longtime track and field enthusiast, believes Adams could have at least national-class speed in the 100, 200 or 400 meters, he said he’s never been timed at any distance beyond 60.