Q+A: Brook Lopez
A wide-ranging conversation with the Nets big man.
by Adam Figman / @afigman
I want to be Brook Lopez when I grow up. We’re talking about a man who can break down the Xs and Os of basketball as well as (almost) anyone in the NBA, yet a man who steadily maintains his cat’s Instagram page. A man who was selected to the 2013 All-Star Game while averaging 19.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season, yet a man who gets visibly upset while explaining why he thinks DC Comics has been faltering behind Marvel in recent years. A man warm-hearted enough to donate a portion of his limited off-time to doing charity work in Africa, yet a man cold-hearted enough to yam directly on his own brother’s domepiece.
Brook Lopez is the best.
At G-Shock’s “Shock the World 2013″ 30th Anniversary event last night in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Lopez spent a few minutes speaking about most of the aforementioned material—including his cat’s Instagram page (of course including his cat’s Instagram page)—and plenty more.
SLAM: First of all, how’s your foot?
Brook Lopez: I’m doing great. Actually, I lose the boot tomorrow. I can’t wait. I’m gonna throw it so far away.
SLAM: You should Office Space it.
SLAM: What’s the timetable like before you get back on the court?
BL: We’ve been taking it slow. We did [surgery] at the beginning off-season because we wanted to make sure there was maximum time [for recovery]. So I’m gonna get the boot off and then slowly rehab—walking then jogging and so on and so on.
SLAM: Have you been settling in with your new teammates? What’s that process been like?
BL: It’s been great, everyone’s just so excited to start. We have team workouts later in the month, just that the players set up, and we’re just focused on winning. It’s not about one guy—it’s about the team.
SLAM: How’s the rest of your summer been?
BL: It’s been great. A lot of traveling. I went on a family vacation on a cruise—we started off in Copenhagen, we through Oslo, Norway, then Bergen, Norway, and then Scotland and Dublin, Ireland.
SLAM: What’s a Lopez family cruise like?
BL: It’s a good time, you know? You’d think we wouldn’t have that much fun because a lot of the ships below deck are a little shorter, but the ports are a lot of fun. We usually try to get some of our boys on the cruise, too, so it’s always good to see everyone during the offseason.
SLAM: I saw you were in Africa, too.
BL: Yeah, with the Clinton Foundation. There’s a connection through my agency with the Clinton Foundation and they asked if I wanted to go and it’s not something you say no to. Just being out there with President Clinton and Chelsea [Clinton], it was pretty life-changing. The first day, when [President Clinton] came to meet us, he spoke to us for a little bit and was talking about health care. He pointed to my foot and said you might think that’s difficult with your situation, but these kids have to walk for a whole day to go to a clinic, or wait six weeks to find out if they’re positive or negative and if they have to go back to the clinic. I get team doctors and everything catered to me, and I can call and get whatever I need. It put a lot of things in perspective for me.
SLAM: Did you get to know President Clinton at all?
BL: Yeah, I did. He’s a huge basketball fan. He was telling me about how excited he was for our team—he knew about the trade and everything. He knew we got Paul Pierce, KG, Jason Terry. Obviously he’s a big Arkansas guy so he was talking about Joe [Johnson], too. I was amazed. He said he’s going to try and make it out to a game. I asked him to, so we’ll see if that’s going to happen.
SLAM: Jason Kidd said he’s going to motivate your team by playing movies. Did you see that?
BL: Really? No, I didn’t.
SLAM: He said he’s going to show you guys The Matrix. Have you seen it before?
BL: I have. Actually, in high school I hadn’t seen the original one, and I saw the second and third ones first. I was like, these are OK. Then my friend lent me the DVD for the first Matrix. Have you ever heard of the comic book series The Matrix was essentially taken from called The Invisibles?
SLAM: I’ve heard of it, but haven’t read any of it.
BL: It’s my favorite line by Grant Morrison. It’s crazy good.
SLAM: If you were a coach and you were going to put on a movie to inspire your squad, what would it be?
BL: [Long pause] I’m a nerd, so I get pretty geeked when I see—like, I’d show them Return of the Jedi or something like that. Then they’d be like, Why did you show us that movie? And I’d be like, Aren’t you guys excited now?!
SLAM: Yeah, I don’t know if that’d be the best way to get through to a group of basketball players.
BL: [Laughs] Yeah, but that’s probably what I’d pick.
SLAM: I have to ask about something: Quincy Pondexter’s dog Buckets has a Twitter account, and he tweeted about following Brook Lopez’s cat on Instagram. Please explain all of this to me.
BL: Everyone kept saying, Brook, why don’t you have Instagram? Why don’t you have Twitter? And I was like, I don’t want to. Then I folded to one of my friends and I said, Fine, I’ll get Instagram, but it’s gonna be my cat’s Instagram. So I got that, then I actually saw Quincy’s dog, so I was like, Yeah, get Buckets to hit my guy up, and I’ll hit up Buckets.
SLAM: Have you been putting photos up there?
BL: Yeah. I haven’t been able to the past few weeks, but yeah, I have.
SLAM: Tell me about how you wound up endorsing G-Shock.
BL: I was invited out here—I’ve been a big G-Shock guy for a while now, and that’s because of my friend Ryan Anderson. [Lopez and Anderson were teammates on the 2008-09 New Jersey Nets. Both California natives, too.—Ed.] He’s a big watch guy. He kind of got me into it. We were just talking one day, and he was like, I’ve been getting into watches lately. It was just a matter of us, whether we were traveling together or back in Cali, just going shopping and checking stuff out. I sort of followed him and learned from him, and G-Shock is my favorite brand. I’m lucky and happy to be here.
SLAM: It’s great how NBA players pick up such weird quirks about one another from spending so much time with their teammates.
BL: Oh, definitely. You’re pretty much living together.
SLAM: Did you learn anything about any of your teammates last season that surprised you?
BL: [Long pause] Gerald Wallace is a big candy guy, I know that. He likes Reese’s Pieces, that’s his go-to candy. This doesn’t surprise me that much, but Reggie [Evans] introduced me to one of the guys from Duck Dynasty. Reggie is Reggie so it doesn’t surprise me that much, but it was awesome. My girl loves that show so it was cool for me.
SLAM: Which guy from Duck Dynasty?
BL: The main guy, the CEO.
SLAM: I assume you have strong feelings about the announcement that Batman is going to be featured in the Man of Steel sequel.
BL: You know, I’m a DC guy. So I’m excited for the movie, obviously, but it’s been tough for me to go see the Marvel movies because they’re doing so well. Their gameplan was just great, the way they went from Ironman to Thor and Captain America and Ironman 3 and The Avengers—I would sit through those movies, and I was like, this should be Justice League and this should be a Batman movie and then a Flash and Superman movie.
SLAM: So it’s like watching your favorite team make trades and pick-ups that you don’t like and then not playing well.
BL: Yeah, I guess that’s it. Yeah.
SLAM: Do you have a strategy in your head for how you would fix DC’s movie rollout?
BL: I don’t know. I feel like it’s not for lack of trying. I mean, I’m not behind the scenes. They’ve only been making, like, Batman movies and Superman movies. I don’t know if they’re afraid to try other movies or what, but we’ll see.