With Clean Lines, Brook Lopez Says, 'Hello, Houston!'

HOUSTON—Before the Brooklyn Nets' final game before 2013 All-Star Weekend, center Brook Lopez came out to greet the Barclays Center crowd, sporting a close-cropped 'do that sure seemed like the first time the 24-year-old center had gotten chopped since ... since ... well, this.

Lopez joked that it was about time to clean up the lines, considering he's heading to Houston to represent the Nets and the Eastern Conference in the league's marquee event. While Lopez is flying solo this year, several Nets have made the trip in seasons past, from Deron Williams last year as a Net and twice while with Utah, on down through Joe Johnson's six selections, Jerry Stackhouse's pair and Gerald Wallace's 2010 excursion. Even coach P.J. Carlesimo joined Western Conference Gregg Popovich's staff in 2005, when the San Antonio group helmed that half of the All-Star roster.

Here's what each had to say about their experience and any advice they've got for Brook:

COACH P.J. (All-Star: 2005, Assistant Coach)

I hope Brook ...
enjoys the experience, which I think he’ll do. I think that almost everybody, in their first All-Star Game, comes back more confident. They have to. Even when we were there as assistant coaches with Pop (we did). You think you understand what it is, but it’s different when you go into the locker room and the jerseys are hung up and the guys that are in that locker room, they’re guys you play against all the time and now you’re on the same team as them.

The 24 guys that are there, there’s a certain level of talent. And if it’s your first time there and you’re looking around and saying, ‘This is great being here,’ it would be highly unusual for me to imagine somebody being there and feeling a little more special, a little more confident in how good you are, the fact that you’re in with that group.

DERON (AS: 2009-10, 2012)

Brook should ...
Just have fun. That’s what it’s all about. The weekend’s about fun, going down there and enjoying the weekend.

JOE (AS: 2007-12)

My first year ...
I was playing in the Rookie-Sophomore game (now the Rising Stars Challenge). And it was an out-of-body experience. It was something I would always watch growing up and I finally got a chance to be a part of it. I was stoked pretty much the whole weekend, so it was definitely an experience I can’t forget.

Going as an All-Star was ...
definitely different. The first time I was an all-star was in vegas. Every year that I’ve been it’s been amazing. I’m so happy for Brook, man. I’m sure he’ll have a great time. There’s so much going on: it’s crowded, it’s packed. But you’ll find more good than bad.

CRASH (2010)

My first All-Star Game ...
was an experience. I told Brook I wasn’t even really interested in getting into the game. It was kind of awkward because we were in Dallas, it snowed, a lot of stuff was cancelled. But then we were at the Cowboys stadium, so I was kind of content sitting back and watching the game on the big-screen TV. But I had an enjoyable time, I had a fun time, I enjoyed the experience, I liked every moment of it. Like I told him, 'Just go out there and have fun.' I told him take one back, take the ball out and shoot a 3. Enjoy the game.

Being an All-Star ...
I think it more hits you when you get home and you look at your jersey and you understand, ‘I was an All-Star.’ That’s one of your personal goals that you work for, that you start off on, becoming an All-Star, then All-NBA and then NBA Champion. It’s one of the things Brook can say he put on his notch, and he’ll continue to work.

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