The man in the middle of the Nets’ first season in Brooklyn is Brook Lopez, who’s averaging 17.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and a career-high 2.3 blocks after signing a four-year contract worth more than $60 million. Just as the spotlight has greeted the Nets with the move to the Barclays Center, it’s intensified on the fifth-year center out of Stanford. One area where his game has improved dramatically is finishing at the rim, where he shoots 78 percent, 12 points higher than ever before in his career. He’s also seen the amount of buckets he scores that are assisted spike, in part because of playing with All-Star point guard Deron Williams. Case in point: Last night against the Celtics, Williams’ bullet no-look pass to Lopez helped push the center to a team-high 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting.
The unabashed comic book fan is out promoting Ubisoft’s “Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth” this week, a day after the Nets beat the Celtics in Brooklyn. Dime caught up with Lopez to talk about life under the microscope, his owner’s game and comic-book culture of the NBA.
Dime: I read today that Kevin Garnett was calling out almost all of your plays last night. How do you deal with that?
Brook Lopez: Obviously it’s hard but they do a really good job of scouting so it really comes down to executing them and just really playing basketball during the game.
Dime: Is it still a little odd for you to play against guys you grew up watching, such as a Garnett?
BL: It is a little bit it was really weird for me my rookie year but you know it’s been a great experience for me to be able to challenge these guys and um, I really you know test yourself against them.
Dime: I want to talk about this Avengers video game a little bit. You’re obviously a big comic book fan and have never hid that interest. Did they seek you out because of that?
BL: They found me for this game and they actually went through my agent as something I’m very interested in. I’m a huge Avengers fan. To really get these connections in the comics industry I had to go to Comic-Con and meet these guys face to face to tell them how big a fan I was. I really reitereated that I’d love to do something with them.
Dime: Had you been to Comic-Con before?
BL: I went this year and probably two years before that and my rookie yera too.
Dime: That has to be bliss for you.
BL: It’s crazy, it’s a lot of fun, just so fun quite honestly. It’s really cool to see everyone come out and show their spirit and have a good time.
Dime: With this game did you have any input with the content?
BL: I didn’t get to really get to be a creative consulting with the game but if there’s a sequel I’d love to be a part of that — maybe get the BrooklyKnight in there. I was able to create a piece of art for the commission for it to help promote the game and now I’m going out to play the game at the Boys & Girls clubs with kids.
Dime: Do you have any teammates who are comic book guys?
BL: There’s a ton of video game guys. The new Call of Duty just came out and it’s all I hear about in the locker room. When Assassins Creed comes out or the new Halo, when those games come out a lot of guys talk about it.
Dime: Not as much comic book guys?
BL: Not as much. There are a few. I talk with them every now and they go to see the movies and stuff like that and we talk about it and I really enjoy it.
Dime: What’s it like this year to play and live in front of the cameras of NBA TV’s “The Association”?
BL: It’s very interesting. My first reality show. We’re actually setting up right now. It’s been a fun experience, I think the guys really enjoy it and it’s been great exposure for the Brooklyn Nets brand to get that out there.
Dime: What’s the biggest difference between the Barclays Center and the Prudential Center, maybe something only a player would know?
BL: Probably for me being a big comic book guy there’s a huge turntable where the vehicle elevators come down and it turns around like the Batman movies with the Batmobile. It’s a big turntable like that and everytime my car goes down it turns arond and I feel like I’m in the Batmobile a little bit.
Dime: Do you notice a difference in the vibe with the team now in Brooklyn?
BL: The only way I can say it is that it is different. That’s the bottom line. It’s a complete 180. The fans have a really high basketball IQ over there. They expect a lot and we want to be the team that Brooklyn deserves.
Dime: Do you ever see Jay-Z at functions away from your games, and what’s that like?
BL: We’ve seen him at events and stuff like that. He is around and is a very busy guy but his presence is definitely felt.
Dime: What about the majority owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, as a player? What would be his best move?
BL: Oh I think if he wanted to sign himself I think he could. I think he could dunk it on people.
Dime: Really, still?
BL: Oh yeah, no question.
Dime: This summer did you have much contact with GM Billy King about the Dwight Howard trade demands, or were you waiting to see like everyone else?
BL: I wasn’t really paying attention to that when it first came out. You know it was talked about and after that I ignored whatever the media was saying and really focused on bettering myself as a player and putting myself in a position to succeed.
What do you think?
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