Tag Archives: L.A.

Brook Lopez: Class Act

It’s crazy to think that back in 2008 the New Jersey Nets selected Brook Lopez in the first round of the draft.  Lopez has never gotten the credit he deserved while on the Nets.  Mostly because playing for the Nets is generally a curse to those who are doomed to play for the franchise – but mostly because Lopez was consistently under-the-radar his entire career.  Maybe it’s because he’s a finesse-type center, soft-spoken, kind of doofy looking – whatever it may be, the spotlight was never on Lopez.  Even at times when it was obvious he was the best player on the Nets roster, the spotlight was always on somebody else: Kris Humphries (for all the wrong reasons), Deron Williams (for all the wrong reasons), Kevin Garnett or even Joe Johnson.

Lopez was a guy who came to work and enjoyed what he did, with whoever was around.  It’s a rare quality in people – let alone a professional athlete.   Brook Lopez somehow managed to be an  unassuming seven footer.  This, as well as his price tag which came with an injury history, is why his name has come up in trades for the last three or four seasons.  On paper trading Lopez always made sense: a finesse-center, with a big salary, lower leg issues, who can’t run the floor – seems like the type to be a welcoming issue on a good team, instead of a player it’s fan-base looked at as “holding back.”  To be fair to Lopez, he was never, holding back this team – the team, eh and Billy King, have put the Nets in a perennial moon-walk avoiding the big dance – but anyhow. . .

The day has finally come for Lopez to be traded.  Reports have come out that on draft day, the Lakers and Nets have agreed to a trade in which the Lakers give up D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov and the Nets give up Brook Lopez and their 27th pick in the first round.  The Lakers relieve themselves of the Mozgov contract and get in return assets – and for the Nets their big takeaway from this is acquiring D’Angelo Russell – a young player with the potential to become a very promising piece to the Nets much needed rebuild.

With Lopez now gone, the Nets have nothing but young guys trying to prove they can hand in this league, and veterans filling in spots and collecting pay-days.

Nets players went on to social media to show love to Brook Lopez as soon as the news came out.

Sean Kilpatrick posted a touching picture of him hugging Lopez during a game followed by: “First player I met once I became a Net & said do what you do best. Thanks for making sure I was always alright. Good luck in LA big fella”

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson posted a video of him and Lopez reinacting theme song from the television show The Wayans Brothers, and you can tell RHJ was really hurt by this move: “Couldn’t sleep… I’ve had a lot of teammates throughout my life and I loved and embraced every single one of them. But this guy right here became a best friend, biggest critic, big brother, smart ass, goof ball, turned me into a Disney lover and more. But the one thing that always meant a lot to me is no matter what we went through on or off the court we always talked to each other. You will be truly missed “BROTHER” good luck with everything and remember “We ride together We die together……. Bad boys for life”

This is what made Brook Lopez special in the Nets community.  Sure, the Nets are on nobody’s radar – ever.  They are the worst team in the NBA today but there are two things nobody can take away from them.  One is, the re-brand is a much better look (from New Jersey to Brooklyn, new uniform, new home) and that Brook Lopez was always a class act.

Back to the trade itself.

As previously stated, for the Nets this was a small price to pay to get someone like D’Angelo Russell.  CBS Sports’ Chris Barnewell says this is good for Russell, in that he gets a “fresh start” in Brooklyn.  Russell bumped heads with Byron Scott, then had that infamous “snap chat controversy” with Nick Young – there was definitely a need for change.  Brooklyn has a bunch of young guys on the squad, but none came into the league with more potential than Russell.

It’s a shame Brook didn’t get a chance to be traded to a contender though. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of Brook Lopez and I always said that he deserves better, he deserves to be on a winner.  There is no telling what the Lakers plans are with Lopez, but my guess would be to have his veteran presence in a locker room full of young guys – to help them along the way.  Or maybe, ultimately, to be used as a piece for another trade before the draft or mid-season before the trade deadline.

Regardless, it’s officially the end of an era for a franchise riddled with errors.  Lopez leaves the Nets as the team’s all-time leading scorer and one of the most over-looked stars in the last decade of New York area sports.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

 

 

The Hollywood Rams

Reality television is usually seen for actors and/or musicians who have seemingly “lost their way” and are vying for a moment in the spotlight.  These are the folks that see this route as a last ditch-effort in re-acquiring the fame that has escaped them.

So why does the NFL need reality television?  It’s already the most dominant sport in America.  The sports-hubs of the nation revolve their workdays around it – even in the off-season.   The NFL does it because until we all collectively say out loud “enough is enough” – the league will continue to pursue ways to keep itself in the public’s eye all year long.

Jared+Goff+Los+Angeles+Rams+Introduce+Jared+N--1wRdByp1l

Since 2001, the NFL has stayed true to putting a team’s pre-season on display on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”  All in all, the show has proven to be a success.  It helps put a face to the names of players and puts the fans “in” the locker room.  This year the newly-moved Los Angeles Rams are the team that will be nationally viewed on Hard Knocks.  Oh, and the Rams will also be on the E! Network series “Hollywood & Football.”  Because two reality shows about the same team is exactly what football fans want to see.

“Hollywood & Football” focuses on some of the Rams players and their wives.  Kenny Britt and his wife Sabrina are one of the six couples that will be followed around.  One has to wonder if during a heated argument Sabrina spits fire at Kenny like “How does it feel to always fall short of your potential!?”  Riveting, must-see T.V. . .

Kenny+Britt+Sabrina+Britt+Draft+Day+Premieres+k8nQNs6c2ljl

To be fair though, this move makes perfect sense for the Rams.  This is a team that has been mostly forgotten since the days of Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk.  They play in a division which has the league’s current “it” team in the Seattle Seahawks; a team that might be the best in the NFC and might have the league’s best head coach in the Cardinals and a team, that although they are serious flaming bags of trash – the 49ers are still the 49ers and their name carries more weight than most in the league.  The Rams, are looking for a new identity.  This is why they’ve moved back to Los Angeles and are now trying to take up the spotlight any way they can.

The Rams drafted Jared Goff with the number one pick of the draft this year – a product of California University with a Hollywood smile.  This was not just a move for a team looking for a new quarterback, but a team looking for a new beginning.  This is exactly why people move.  To start over.  Do things differently.  Right now the Rams are tired of being “under-the-radar.”  They want to be noticed.  With a rookie quarterback and a second year back that the league fell in love with last season in Todd Gurley, the Rams think they are putting the right pieces together.

Flavor+Flav+Focus+Flavor+Flav+Arrested+Las+olrRqKnJOc6l

So maybe the NFL is not the forgotten celebrity trying to re-brand itself in our world.  It’s just the Rams trying to re-brand itself in the world of football.  Just like Bret Michaels and Flavor Flav, the Rams are just looking for love. . .exposure and prove to the world that they still exist.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio