The Brooklyn Nets aren't the only ones cashing in on new All-Stars, a new fan base, and new product revenue. A few of New York City's own recently got a chance to reap the benefits of generosity when Brook Lopez took the opportunity to host a ProCamp at Brooklyn College. An opportunity that afforded Lopez the chance to teach some kids the fundamentals of the game, and demo a brand new interactive video game that's sure to change the way kids learn the game as well. We went one on one with the Cali native to talk Nets vs. Knicks, season expectations, and how it feels to see kids having fun on a basketball court.
Interview by Adam Silvers (@silversurfer103)
Is the Brook Lopez Basketball ProCamp a nostalgic experience for you?
Yeah, it really is a little nostalgic for me. It’s great that Citi set up the program and allowed me to be a part of it. They gave the opportunity for a lot of these parents to get their kids exclusive access, and get them in early into the situation. It’s truly been great for me and it reminds me of when I was running around getting floor burns at camps.
How much did you learn from your older brothers about how to develop as a basketball
They were always training me and giving me little tips and stuff like that, but the most important stuff was them always telling me to play hard. Do a lot of intangible things; be an energy player, be an effort player. Your shot might not be falling, but there’s still lots of other things you can do on the court.
Do you think “Basketball Beats” will really change the way kids learn the game of basketball and pick up the skills?
Definitely. When I was playing the game—you don’t even realize it—you’re automatically dribbling with your eyes up. You can’t be looking at the ball because all the instructions are on the screen— it’s little things like that. And as you continue to play you the game becomes harder and harder, and that’s only going to make you better and better.
With the contract extension before the start of the season, and the hype surrounding the move to Brooklyn, what are your expectations for yourself and the Nets this season?
I think we’re just going to get better. In the games where we’ve had everyone on the floor; myself, Gerald, the rest of the roster. I think we’ve no question been at our best. It’s just going to be a matter of really getting into that situation where we can get in the groove with all our key components on the floor at the same time for a good number of games. Then we can really show the league what we’re capable of.
You were riding a four-game winning streak, leading the team in scoring, when you went down with the foot injury. Do you think you have to carry the load offensively for the Nets to make some noise this year?
No, I’m more focused the defensive end. Being there if any of my teammates get beat; to block shots, change shots, give hard fouls. Really being that line of defense that my guys can rely upon.
In just the two games you’ve played already this season against the Knicks there appears to be a playoff atmosphere. Does it feel that way for you guys on the court?
They definitely feel like playoff games for us. They’re easy to get up for, and they’re fun for us.
What are your thoughts on the newest rivalry in New York City?
I think it’s just great for the city of New York. It’ll do nothing but help bring more basketball fans. Having two great teams like this really helps keep New York basketball on the map.
The Nets brought in several key pieces to try and build a championship team, but what does
it mean to you, being a Net from the start, to achieve success this year and beyond?
No question, I love being a Net. It’s the only team I want to play on. I’m very happy to see the way the situation’s gone. The Nets are a prominent basketball organization, and I’m happy that people like Gerald, Deron, and Joe want to be playing with us.
What’s the best way for you to spend a day off during the season?
I don’t think I could ask for a better way to spend it than doing a camp like this. Just hanging around kids, having fun, playing basketball. Nothing beats that. Basketball is really just a gateway. Once you see the kids out here really interacting, just hanging out with each other having fun, that’s the important thing.