Robin and Brook Lopez collide in Brooklyn

We’ve seen this before, particularly in Chicago with Horace against Harvey. There’s Marcus and Markieff, the Harrisons trying to hang on, Jason and Jarron recently departed and Dick and Tom, the originals. But there probably have never been any like Brook and Robin, the Lopez twin mascot fighting, comic book reading, Star Wars admiring twins of the NBA.

They’ve played one another many times in their eight years in the NBA, Brook only with the Nets and Robin with the Bulls his fifth team. But when the Stanford grads meet it’s not exactly cerebral.

“It’s always exciting (to play against Brook),” Robin said. “We’re both naturally super competitive. If you look on the floor we’re not talking to each other at all; it’s business as usual.

“But everybody knows I’m the prettier twin, I’m the more charismatic twin,” Robin added. “I think that’s good for plus five wins (over Brooklyn), the intangibles.”

Though it’s been more than intangibles for Robin with the Bulls this season.

Although the stories have generally centered around the biggest three among Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo with Taj Gibson going forth, Robin Lopez quietly—and he has been so far, even with Benny—has been a vital interior presence for the Bulls.

The Bulls go into Monday’s game against Brook��s Nets tied for third in the league in rebounds and second in differential at a plus 16.5 rebounds per game. And against Eastern contenders Indiana and Boston. Robin is averaging 16 points and five rebounds in the two games and a solid nine of 10 on free throws.

“Rebounding and taking care of the ball are two of the most important things in our game plan,” said Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg. “It’s been a big theme of practice, physicality, playing with toughness, not getting outworked. The thing Robin brings is he’s such a steady force out there. He’s going to do what’s asked of him; he’s not going to play outside of who he is. He’s going to go out and play his butt off every time he steps on that court. He does all the little things that sometimes don’t show up in the stat sheet: He sets great screens, he rolls to the rim, takes guys with him and opens up things for everybody. He’s a consistent rim runner and he guards, not only blocking shots and protecting the rim, but he alters a lot of shots. He’s a good pick and roll defender, a guy you can rely on. Everyone has been really pleased. He’s a great guy to play with out there for our guys.

“He always has been a hard hat, lunch pail type of player who went out and did his job,” Hoiberg added. “We haven’t seen anything different; he’s always on time, been great as an example for our young guys, been a really good teammate.”

“Robin is a beast, a tank down there,” chimed in Gibson.

Though there’s the issue of the mascots.

Robin and Brook both are comic book aficionados, pop culture virtuosos, Star Wars experts to the point they were concerned about the moral issue of a lack of a medal for Chewbacca from the original Stars Wars and when then were at Disneyland presented Chewy a medal.

Robin also has been known for his long time battles with arena mascots which he once explained in an interview with the Bleacher Report web site: “I feel like my earliest encounters with mascots, they were never too receptive of me. I was a taller child. I always looked a little older than I was. I don’t think I ever got proper attention from those mascots.”

Robin has been involved in tussles with the mascots of the Pistons, Spurs, Hawks and Grizzlies, among others, with special enmity for the Pistons’ Brother Brook even helped him out with the Pistons’. He counts his only defeat against the Grizzlies mascot in a sneak attack.
“I feel like I’m doing humanity’s work. I’m trying to be the people’s champion,” Robin explained.

“As long as it’s not coach assaults,” laughed Hoiberg.

Robin has been no joking matter for Bulls opponents this season.