Stanford men's basketball product Brook Lopez was quick to point out he won the tipoff Wednesday night. That was after explaining how he got handled by Yao Ming in his tipoff against the Houston Rockets earlier in the NBA season.
"I won the other night too, so that's two in a row," Lopez said after he played 36 minutes for the New Jersey Nets in his return to the Bay Area for the first time since announcing he was turning pro.
Lopez scored 14 points, grabbed six rebounds and recorded two blocked shots in the Nets' 116-112 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Oakland on Wednesday night as he continues a fine rookie season in the NBA.
Afterward he addressed a group of about 200 Stanford supporters for about 10 minutes, touching on several topics before he had to rush to the Nets' team bus.
"New Jersey is a great place; it's one big factory," Lopez deadpanned. "They've got nice people there too who are always giving you a hand gesture. It's wonderful."
He's leading all rookies with 1.87 blocks per game, seventh overall. He's already set a New Jersey rookie record with 120 blocks to date. He's also on pace to set a record for highest free-throw percentage by a rookie in NBA history (.821).
"The Nets showed a lot of confidence in me from day one," Lopez said. "They also showed a lot of tolerance for my mistakes too."
Brook's twin brother Robin plays sparingly for the Phoenix Suns, averaging just under 10 minutes to play.
"We text every day and we never talk about basketball," Brook said. "We talk about everything else. I beat him 1-on-1 every day all the time so we have none of that."
Lopez said he was "a gym rat" growing up in Fresno and played as much basketball as he could.
"It helps to have three older brothers who are about my size," Lopez said. "I worked a lot on my shooting against them. We'd try to play as close to full court as we could."
At this time last year, Lopez was helping Stanford reach the championship final of the Pac-10 tournament and then the Sweet Sixteen. He earned All-American honors and then announced his intention, along with Robin, of foregoing his final two years of college.
The Cardinal men's basketball program has undergone an overhaul since losing to Texas in last year's NCAA tournament. No Lopez twins and no Trent Johnson underscore the current level of success enjoyed by Stanford.
California product Ryan Anderson and Lopez's teammate on the Nets, did not play against the Warriors in his return to the area.