Nets center Brook Lopez has spent the summer traveling around the world, bouncing between enough countries to fill an entire passport with stamps. He spent time in Africa with the Clinton Foundation, and is currently off with the NBA as part of its Big Summer. The 25-year-old spoke with BROOKLYNNETS.COM before heading out for a third trip.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: How'd you get started with the Clinton Foundation?
Brook Lopez: It started with a connection at my Agency, the Wasserman Media Group. We had someone who worked at the White House previously and had the connection through her. I got invited on the trip and obviously jumped at the chance.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: Had you connected with them or Chelsea previously, since you both went to Stanford?
Brook Lopez:This is my first time. I know that she knows the Collins twins (NBA players Jarron and Jason) very well; they were all at Stanford at the same time. It was a good time getting to talk to her and learn what she’s passionate about and get to know her as a person as well.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: What did you learn on the trip? What did you see?
Brook Lopez: It was life changing. We went to Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Rwanda. Seeing the things I saw there, the anchor farms, the HIV clinics, it made me feel blessed and fortunate. it put my situation in perspective.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: It made you want to help out more?
Brook Lopez: Absolutely. I told them whenever they set the next trip, I want to be on the guest list. I definitely tried to help out out there, with whatever I could.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: What was most surprising to you?
Brook Lopez: I think I really realized how much one person can help giving a minimal, base effort. I told a lot of people coming back from the trip that if everyone in the world were able to go on this trip and see these things, I don’t think there wouldn’t be any problems getting people to contribute – everyone would want to help.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: Did you get to talk sports with anyone you met at events?
Brook Lopez: We got to hang out with them. All of them spoke English a little bit, but couldn’t really carry on conversations. It was still amazing to see how they interacted and that we were able to understand each other despite that barrier.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: How did the reality differ from your expectations?
Brook Lopez: You go in expecting one thing, but it really exceeded my expectations across the board. It was an incredible experience, seeing what the foundation is doing there to help with farming, agriculture, the economy and health, as well.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: You were also in Europe for a stretch – what took you out there?
Brook Lopez: That was just a 15-day family vacation I went on with my mom and my brothers. We went through Denmark, Copenhagen, Oslo and Bergen in Norway, Scotland and Dublin.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: What was that like?
Brook Lopez: It was cool to see. My family had been to most of those spots previously; just my twin brother and I hadn’t. so it was cool to see them go back and reminisce on when they were there years and years ago and how much had changed.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: How was the food?
Brook Lopez: Oh, great. we tried everything out: herring open-faced sandwiches and all that.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: And this isn't it for your summer – there's still an NBA trip left, right?
Brook Lopez: I’m going out to New Zealand, Korea, Singapore and Japan. It’s always exciting to go to Asia for the NBA trips. there are many passionate fans out East, and they love the game. it’s fun to go out there, talk the game with them, shoot with them and just enjoy my time there. That goes through the beginning of September.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: Once you get back, you're going to be playing with a few new teammates. What was your reaction to the trade with the Celtics?
Brook Lopez: I was excited. I caught up with Paul – we had an appearance together a few days ago – and I can’t wait for the season to start. I find myself dreaming about playing basketball and playing basketball in games.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: What's it going to be like practicing against Kevin, Andray and the other bigs?
Brook Lopez: I know practice is going to be very intense. We’ve got a bunch of bigs who were all starters, very good starters and have played against each other. It’s going to be good going out and playing against other front lines.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: What do you think it'll take for the team to jell?
Brook Lopez: It’s about playing a team style, really sharing the ball and doing whatever’s best to win.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: Have you spoken to Coach Kidd about the upcoming season?
Brook Lopez: I talked to him a little bit, but nothing about roles. I think we all have the same expectations: We’re excited to get on the floor, learn on the fly together and work together to achieve our only goal, and that’s to win.
BROOKLYNNETS.COM: What parts of your game have you been working on this summer?
Brook Lopez: I worked on my game across the board and I want to be a consummate team player. I want to make sure we’re a well-oiled machine.