Meet the Brooklyn Nets’ Jedi Center: An Interview with Brook Lopez

The NBA All-Star on becoming a bobblehead strong with the Force and much more!

The back of a Brook Lopez basketball card will tell you his stats and certain personal details. It will tell you that he averaged 20.7 points per game in the 2013-14 season. It might mention he’s an All-Star. It could say that he was the 10th pick overall in the 2008 NBA draft. But it won’t tell you that he loves Star Wars. That he really, really loves Star Wars.

The Brooklyn Nets center, who makes no secret of his love of comics and pop culture, holds the stories of Jedi, Sith, scoundrels, princesses, and the Force in especially high regard. It seems right, then, that for the Nets’ upcoming Star Wars Night on December 14 at Barclays Center (tickets available now), the team will be giving away a Jedi Brook Lopez bobblehead to the first 10,000 fans in attendance. (Even though at 7-feet-tall, he’s a bit closer to a Wookiee. More on that later.) StarWars.com spoke with Lopez about growing up with Star Wars, achieving Jedi Knight status, and for what special power he’d turn Sith.

StarWars.com: Do you remember how you were first introduced to Star Wars?

Brook Lopez: I can’t even remember now. I have two older brothers. My twin Rob and I are the youngest in the family, and our brothers were born in ’76 and ’81. So when I grew up, I was just around it all the time. I remember being a toddler and watching Return of the Jedi and all those movies on TV with them, and it stuck with me. We lived in North Hollywood, so we’d go to Disneyland a lot, and I’d go on Star Tours all the time. It was my favorite ride.

StarWars.com: What do you think it was about Star Wars that stood out to you and connected with you?

Brook Lopez: It hits me on a lot of different levels. As a kid, you enjoy the action, the humor. The characters, especially in the first three, are just so charismatic and play off of each other so well. It’s so easy to watch those time and time again and enjoy them. A lot of the Force stuff, what Yoda says in The Empire Strikes Back, resonates with me a lot.

Return of the Jedi has always been favorite. It almost goes backwards for me. Return of the Jedi, then Empire, then Star Wars.

StarWars.com: And how deep did you get into it? Do you collect anything?

Brook Lopez: Oh, yeah. I’ve been collecting the Black Series figures. I know a good deal of the Expanded Universe. I have lots of the Star Wars Tales comics, the Empire books from Dark Horse, I’ve been getting the new stuff from Marvel.

StarWars.com: So you’re the real deal.

Brook Lopez: Yeah, yeah. Next to my bed I have a custom lightsaber. A custom hilt with an orange blade up on the wall.

StarWars.com: Wow. Why an orange blade?

Brook Lopez: Orange is my favorite color. I like [Wookiee Jedi] Lowbacca, and his blade is orange, as well. I’ve always wanted to be a Wookiee. I relate to them a lot. So we have a connection there.

Lowbacca

StarWars.com: You had publicly campaigned to play a Wookiee in The Force Awakens. How did that work out?

Brook Lopez: It didn’t work out for this one. I would absolutely campaign to be a Wookiee in one of the next two [movies], no question.

StarWars.com: Do you want to start your campaign right here, right now?

Brook Lopez: I do. This is the perfect platform, right? StarWars.com. Yeah. If I could be a Wookiee in the background for just a second, it would be a dream come true for me. Just to partake in the movies in any way.

StarWars.com: Well, hopefully the right people are paying attention.

Brook Lopez: [Laughs] Well, I’ll just try to forward this article when you put it out.

StarWars.com: Now, the Nets are going to have Star Wars Night.

Brook Lopez: Yeah!

StarWars.com: They’re going to be giving away Jedi Brook Lopez bobbleheads. I wanted to talk about the bobblehead and what you thought when you first saw it.

Brook Lopez: I couldn’t believe it, because I never had a bobblehead before. And so, for them to just skip standard, boring, Brook Lopez-in-a-Nets-jersey bobblehead and go straight to Jedi Knight bobblehead is amazing for me. I had seen a picture a few months ago, but I just got it in my hands today. I got to look at it, mess around with it. It’s something else entirely. As a kid, you dream about having a bobblehead. To have a bobblehead that’s not just a basketball bobblehead, but I have my jersey on and Jedi robes and I’m holding a lightsaber, it’s pretty incredible. It came out so well. I’m going to have to get like a hundred of them for myself. [Laughs]

StarWars.com: That leads me to my next question. I did a little searching on the Internet. You’ve been a plushie doll, you’ve been on basketball cards, and now you’re a Jedi bobblehead. Which ranks highest for you?

Brook Lopez: Oh, definitely the Jedi bobblehead. The plushie doll is interesting. I remember my mom bought it at one of the games and left it on my bed when I got back. It was a little creepy. My nieces each have one. My best friend, his newborn baby has one sitting right on his shelf next to his crib. Hopefully it doesn’t scare him too much to have a Brook Lopez doll.

StarWars.com: No, never. Just give him one of the bobbleheads, that’ll balance it out.

Brook Lopez: Definitely.

StarWars.com: The other interesting thing about the bobblehead is that you’re in your Nets gear, and the Nets’ colors are predominantly black, which is kind of a Sith color.

Brook Lopez: It is. So I saw that, and I kind of had to place myself in the timeline. I was thinking, Luke wears black in Return of the Jedi, which is like a new dawn, a new start for the Jedi. So I think it could be post-Return of the Jedi, honestly.

StarWars.com: Okay, there you go. Maybe, if we get you into Episode VIII, you don’t have to be a Wookiee. You could be a Jedi in black.

Brook Lopez: [Laughs] Right? We have continuity already.

StarWars.com: I’ll run it by the Story Group.

Brook Lopez: [Laughs] Perfect. I think it’s set already, then.

Brook Lopez bobblehead

StarWars.com: Regarding The Force Awakens, I’m guessing you’ve seen the trailer?

Brook Lopez: Yeah. I’m so excited. I’m slightly nervous, but after I saw that trailer, I must have watched it, no lie, at least 50 times that first night. [Laughs] Just repeating it.

For Force Awakens, I’ve been trying to stay away from [spoilers]. In culture, so much of the time, you get everything on the Internet. You see pictures from the set, as much as they’re trying to hide it. You see these posts about what this character is about and everything like that. I decided to try and ignore that this time around. I want to go in with as little as possible, almost, and just experience the movie, so I don’t have any [preconceptions] about this actor or that actor or certain characters from the get go. So I saw the teasers and I saw this last trailer, but I’m trying to go in completely fresh. It’s impossible to skip everything. Like, you know Captain Phasma and all these other characters’ names and stuff like that, and you have your theories. But I’m trying to go in with a completely open mind and a fresh outlook so I can enjoy it in its own right.

StarWars.com: Well, my advice is, disconnect the WiFi in your house and stay off the Internet.

Brook Lopez: [Laughs] Right. It’s just gonna get harder from here on out, right?

StarWars.com: Have you bought tickets yet?

Brook Lopez: I have, I have. I don’t know if coach will be happy about that. We’re in Indiana the day it comes out, so my friend and I are going to a midnight showing in Indianapolis the day before the game.

StarWars.com: Well, I think a new Star Wars movie is excusable.

Brook Lopez: [Laughs] You’ll have to ask Lionel Hollins. We’ll see what he thinks.

StarWars.com: I have one more question for you. If you could turn to the dark side to A) never miss a free throw, or, and I ask this as a native New Yorker, to B) never have to drive on the BQE ever again — 

Brook Lopez: [Laughs]

StarWars.com: — which would it be and why?

Brook Lopez: [Laughs] So I have to? I have to choose one of them?

StarWars.com: Yes.

Brook Lopez: Wow. Okay.

StarWars.com: Let’s just say you’re going to the dark side. It’s a done deal. 

Brook Lopez: It’s a done deal. I think I’m going to go with never missing a free… God, the BQE is so obnoxious. I mean, it’s so hard to put up with. But never missing a free throw, that sounds pretty sweet.

StarWars.com: Okay, awesome. I think either choice would be valid for turning.

Brook Lopez: No question, either choice would be life changing. [Laughs] I’d take it in a heartbeat.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content writer, and spends his days writing stuff for and around StarWars.com. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

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