Robin and Brook Lopez are two distinct figures in NBA history, recognized nearly as well for their playful interests off the court as everything they’ve accomplished over a combined 26 seasons on it. The Lopez twins are Disney fanatics and avid comic book readers; long before they entered the league and throughout their time in it, they’ve also been storytellers—crafting, sketching, writing original tales in notebooks they hoped to unearth at some point.
Last week, one of their ideas became a reality. It’s called Transition Game, a manga about a 15-year-old basketball prodigy who lives in Japan and is trying to assimilate into a different culture. It’s a personal narrative for Brook and Robin, who helped create it with their older brother Chris and an illustrator named TATSUZ. The first chapter was released on Aug. 2.
Sports Illustrated: How have you felt releasing such a personal story into the world for the first time? Nervous, anxious, excited? Robin Lopez: I think a combination of the three. It’s always a little nerve-racking to put your work out there and see what people actually think about it. But that said, I think it’s really a dream come true for all of us. We’ve grown up on comics, on manga, and to actually be putting out our first issue, it’s something that we’ve thought about for such a long time.
SI: What was the genesis of the idea for Transition Game and how long did it take from then until its release? Robin Lopez: We’ve had the germ of this idea in the back of our heads for quite some time. I’d say quite a few years, honestly. But I think we started working on it earnestly within the past three years, I’d say.
SI: Brook, did you want to jump in? Brook Lopez: I think it marries a lot of what we love, too, as fans. We’re obviously huge basketball guys. Huge comic book, huge manga guys. And then if you look at the basis overall, a boy playing basketball in Germany and then moving into this new setting in Japan, where he feels like a fish out of water, he has to get his bearings. It’s something that means a lot to us. We didn’t grow up out of the country. We grew up in America, but we definitely traveled a lot. We moved towns, switched schools, switched teams and all that jazz.
The Nets and Barclays Center announced Friday that the Joe and Clara Wu Tsai foundation if funding the inclusion of a Jean-Michel Basquiat curriculum in New York’s public schools. The program, underway in Brooklyn since April will now expand throughout the five boroughs. In addition, the team and arena will host an art show featuring 150 Basquiat-inspired pieces already created by middle and high school students in Brooklyn.