Moke Hamilton, SNYNets.com
HOUSTON — As great as Brook Lopez has played for the Brooklyn Nets this season, he's continued to impress with his attitude and demeanor. Most NBA players say the right things; few actually mean them.
Lopez, for sure, is amongst those exceptions.
Despite leading all centers in scoring with 19 points per game, it took Commissioner David Stern and an unfortunate ACL injury to Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo for Lopez to find himself as a first time All-Star.
As it relates to All-Star selections, many different parties play a role in determining who gets the honor. Fans vote for the 10 total starters, the coaches within each respective conference vote on the 14 reserves and Stern, in the event a named All-Star is unable to participate in the game, names the replacement player.
Some players may hold such a slight personally, but Lopez says he is not.
"Like I said, I'm just glad to be here," Lopez said when asked whether or not the fact that he was only named as an injury replacement was taken by him as a slight. "I'm on the team, it's an honor. By no means did I wish for [Rajon] Rondo to get hurt or anything like that, what happened, happened. But I'm happy to be here, no question."
Lopez has worked very hard to get to this point and admits that he dreamed about being an All-Star for as long as he can remember. He's worked hard to get to this point, and now, in his fifth season, reaps the benefit.
"It's been a goal of mine pretty much for my entire basketball playing career," Lopez said of his first All-Star selection. "I've always dreamed that one day I would play in the All-Star Game and now it's here, it's kinda surreal."
"I'm happy to be here and I don't think there's any way you could really dampen my attitude toward that."
Since neither Deron Williams nor Joe Johnson were named as All-Stars this year, Lopez now has the distinction of being the first Brooklyn Net to be selected to represent the team.
That's actually quite fitting. Lopez has easily been the most consistent and most effective Net player this season. Now, as his Nets sit at 31-22 and second place in the Atlantic Division, Lopez will attempt to have a good showing in Houston and head back to Brooklyn with his sights set on the second half of the season.
Even though his brother Robin decided to head home to Fresno, California instead of heading to Houston to cheer on his twin brother, Lopez is fine with that. "If he made it, I would have done the same thing," he said with a chuckle.
That chuckle, of course, is one he deserves. Lopez has become one of the best centers in the NBA. Even though it took Commissioner Stern to make it a reality.
As media availability ended, Lopez stood up with his fresh haircut and took one last look around the makeshift interview room complete with All-Star banners and memorabilia.
Deep down inside, something inside of Lopez probably still couldn't believe he was amongst LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant.
But, alas, he was.
Perhaps next year, it will be as a member of the starting five.