Happy birthday, Brook!
An all-time fan favorite, Brook Lopez celebrates his 31st birthday today.
His nine seasons with the Nets and Lopez had no shortage of memories — both on and off the court.
On the court, the 2008 tenth overall pick was always having fun. Lopez lived for the moment. His play was indistinguishable whether amid a playoff race or during the dog days of a twelve-win season.
Despite being selected to just one All-Star appearance in 2012-13, Lopez was the Nets’ star for the majority of his career. No matter who the Nets acquired — Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce — Lopez outperformed them, whether in New Jersey or New York.
But all good things must come to an end.
Eight hours before the 2017 NBA Draft, the Nets dealt Lopez and a first-round pick to the Lakers — who ended up being Kyle Kuzma — for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov.
Lopez left Brooklyn as the team’s all-time leading scorer with 10,444 career points. He is also the Nets’ career leader in blocks and offensive win shares.
After spending the 2017-18 campaign with the Lakers, Lopez signed a one-year, $3.3 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.
His time in Milwaukee has been nothing short of historic.
Milwaukee’s Splash Mountain
Adapt or die, it is said. And Lopez has done just that.
After making just three three-pointers in his first eight seasons, the seven-footer’s touch from beyond the arc has recently earned him the nickname “Splash Mountain.”
Lopez averages 12.5 points and an astonishing 2.4 threes per game. Just as cool, Lopez is hitting it at 37 percent from deep — three points higher than last season’s tally.
After making his 173rd three of the season, Lopez broke Channing Frye’s record for most three-pointers made in a single season by a seven-footer.
In an interview with Hoopshype’s Alex Kennedy, Lopez credits Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson for his confidence from deep. “Regardless of whether I was missing every three-pointer I attempted or making every three-pointer I attempted in games, coach Atkinson kept telling me: ‘Just keep shooting.'”
Lopez was the missing piece to Milwaukee’s pending success along Giannis Antetokounmpo, helping to lift them from seventh to first place.
Lopez is the only new addition to last season’s starting five and the only Buck not to miss a game this season. It wasn’t that long ago when Lopez wore the “injury prone” label.
And hopefully — for Brooklyn’s sake — the Nets can avoid a first-round matchup with the East’s most lethal team.
In honor of everybody’s favorite big man, The Brooklyn Game narrowed his antics and highlights down to his very best. Happy birthday, Brook — take it easy on the Nets tonight!
Brook Lopez may love Star Wars more than basketball.
Lopez actively campaigned the Nets to host a Star Wars Night and often expressed his desire to be cast as a Wookiee.
In a 2015 sit-down interview with YES Network, Lopez said that he identifies with Chewbacca — the lovable Wookiee warrior.
“I’d love to be a Wookiee in one of the next movies. I think there are many similarities between myself and their race. And I hope one day to visit their planet.”
And at the rate the movies are being made, Lopez’s opportunity for a cameo isn’t out of the question.
Brook Lopez once again campaigning to play a wookiee in one of the upcoming Star Wars movies. pic.twitter.com/VYslPLpa4U
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) December 15, 2015
With the hype of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the Nets answered Lopez’s wish.
Brooklyn held Star Wars Night in December 2015, with the want-to-be Wookiee as — literally — the face of their themed celebration. With admission, fans received Jedi-Lopez bobbleheads. And in addition to Lopez’s custom bobblehead, a lightsaber sound effect played whenever he scored.
A year later, Chew-Brook-A — a combination of Brook and Chewbacca — was Star Wars Night’s bobblehead of choice.
But the Star Wars gene doesn’t end with Brook. His twin brother, Robin, is as big a fan as Brook.
With Robin playing for the Knicks in the 2015-16 season, the Lopez’s had a chance to take the Nets-Knicks rivalry to a whole new level. The twins held a pre-game lightsaber dual — hosted in the YES Studio.
While visiting Disneyland in September 2016, the Lopez’s revised Episode IV’s ending in which Chewbacca doesn’t receive a medal for his heroism. The twins — donning medals of their own — posed with Chewbacca.
The Lopez’s served justice.
— Robin Lopez (@rolopez42) September 5, 2016
Robin and Brook are no strangers to playing with each other.
Before being drafted in 2008, the twins were teammates in both high school and college, even leading Stanford to the Sweet Sixteen their sophomore year.
The twins were drafted just five picks apart — the Nets selected Brook with the tenth pick and the Suns took Robin at fifteen.
Since then, the Lopez’s haven’t donned the same jersey and it has made for some highlights.
On March 12, 2013 — with Robin playing for New Orleans — Brook made the Barclays Center erupt by putting his brother on a poster.
Three years later — with Robin now on the Bulls — Brook did it again. Only this time, his poster tied the game in the final seconds.
With both brothers playing in their eleventh season, it’s only a matter of time before a Lopez dunks on his brother another time.
Brook, The Sideline Reporter
In 2017, Brook Lopez — with Randy Foye’s help — filled in for the great Sarah Kustok. Just minutes before tipoff, Lopez roasted Sean Kilpatrick’s bobblehead and finessed some NCAA National Championship tickets.
Lopez’s raw humor is second to none. With little to no preparation, Lopez impressed with his humor and his rapport with Foye.
The NBA’s mascot community fears Robin — not Brook
Robin’s ongoing war against mascots began in the 2012-13 season, often sending them crashing towards the court.
But no war shall be fought alone in the Lopez household.
In a 2015 matchup against Charlotte, Hugo the Hornet danced a little too far into Net’s territory during pre-game shoot-around. Brook — in the name of Robin — retaliated by shoving Hugo to Charlotte’s half of the court.
It turns out that Star Wars and basketball aren’t the only things the Lopez twins have in common.
As a Net, whenever Robin came to town, the twins would treat themselves to McDonald’s.
And sometimes it came at the cost of sleep.
In April 2015 — at 2:30 AM on game day — the twins snuck out of Brook’s house — past their sleeping mother — in the name of Lopez-twin tradition.
Brook told Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily that “I just got two filet-a-fish. Well, it’s the filet-a-fish. I had to do it! It’s real fish!”
Behind Lopez’s 32 point performance, the Nets bested the Blazers 106-96. Robin scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Brook’s filet-a-fish got the best of Robin’s Big Mac and large fries.
The 2014-15 season was the last time Brooklyn reached the playoffs — albeit losing to Atlanta in six games in the first round. When nobody wanted to play for the Nets, Lopez was excited to lead the way. When the Celtics trade fell apart, it was Lopez that wanted to see things out. No matter how bad things got, two cities got the best of a unique player and human for nearly a decade.
So, in the simplest terms, Brook Lopez is one of the greatest Nets in franchise history.
And when he calls it a career, his No. 11 jersey should be hanging from the Barclays Center rafters.
Happy birthday, Brook.