Corey Brewer enjoys 2nd trip with Basketball without Borders

Denver Nuggets forward providing instruction for young players in Asia
by Aaron Lopez

To borrow a classic line from Chris Rock, Corey Brewer weighs 180 pounds soaking wet with a brick in his hand.

Imagine the contrast that the 6-foot-9 Denver Nuggets forward presented when he visited a sumo training stable in Japan.

“Those are some big guys,” Brewer said. “I was about to get in the ring, but I didn’t want to show them up.”

Brewer and fellow NBA players Samuel Dalembert and Vladimir Radmanovic, along with former Nuggets center Dikembe Mutombo, are in Japan as part of the NBA’s 2012 Basketball without Borders Asia.

On Tuesday, the group visited the Sendai coastal region that was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Brewer compared it to the aftermath he saw in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“It was tough to look at, but they’re doing a good job (in Japan) getting it back,” Brewer said. “We met the mayor. He was talking about his (rebuilding) plan. They seem like they know what they’re doing. It was tough seeing all the debris and you pray for all of those families.”

Brewer and the NBA contingency conducted a basketball clinic for 100 middle school students affected by the natural disasters. They also are providing instruction for a five-day camp featuring 50 elite high school players representing 18 Asian countries.

For Brewer, this is his second trip with Basketball without Borders; he traveled to Singapore in 2010.

“It’s an easy answer for me,” he said. “They do a great job with Basketball without Borders. Whenever they ask me, I say yes.”

After his trip overseas, Brewer plans to begin his offseason workout program in advance of his sixth NBA season.

He was acquired by the Nuggets, along with Rudy Fernandez, in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 13, 2011. After playing limited minutes in the season’s first four weeks, he became a mainstay off the bench for coach George Karl.

“I came a long way, man,” he said. “Sitting over there, I thought I could help the team. When I got my chance, I just tried to make the most of it.”

Brewer went on to average 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.22 steals in 59 games. Those numbers figure to improve in 2012-13 now that he has a familiarity with his teammates.

“Considering it was a shortened season, our young players showed they can come together,” he said. “We also had some great vets. If we can stick together, we’re going to be all right.”