Back when Brook Lopez was simply the tallest toddler on the block, he thought he was the master at “Sonic The Hedgehog 2.” If only he was actually playing the game.
“When I was really little, we used to play Sega Genesis, and my older brother would play ‘Sonic The Hedgehog 2,’ and he’d be playing as Sonic, but he’d leave an unplugged controller for me to play with, and the whole time I thought I was playing as tails,” Lopez says with a laugh. “I thought I was really good at the game, but the whole time I was just sitting there doing nothing.
“I’m actually good at ‘Sonic 2’ now, but back then, I thought I was real good.”
Lopez has been passionate about gaming ever since Sonic first rolled into his life (whether or not he was actually making the characters spin), and he continues to be a huge gamer to this day, citing video games and comic books as two of his favorite escapes from the high-stress life of the NBA paint.
And it’s because of his love for polygons and superheroes that Ubisoft arranged a day for Lopez to not only lead a drawing class at a New York Boys & Girls Club, but also trade virtual punches with kids in the new Kinect fighting game, “Avengers: Battle for Earth.”
Lopez even showed off his own drawing skills, inking a cool pic that shows a superhero-sized Lopez fighting crime alongside his favorite masked marksman, Hawkeye.
Check out what the Nets big man has to say as he takes a break from visiting the Marvel offices in New York to hop on the phone with ESPN Playbook.
ESPN Playbook: What are some of your favorite video games right now?
Brook Lopez: Obviously, I’m still into “Sonic,” so I was really excited to see what they did with the new episode of “Sonic 4.” I play a lot of “NBA 2K13” with my guys, and then I play a bit of “Halo,” and pretty much any superhero game that come out in general. That’s why I was pretty excited to see this new “Avengers” game coming out.
Who is your favorite Avenger?
I love Hawkeye. I think it has something to with how he’s such a marksman from far away. That’s something I’d love to be on the court.
Does that mean you’re going to start shooting 3-pointers?
Anything to emulate Hawkeye.
When you’re reading a comic, who do you like better, the superhero or the villain?
I definitely like the superheroes, but there’s no question that it takes a good super villain in order to make for a great story. You can really enjoy the superhero aspect to it, but in order to take it to the next level, you need that evil villain to set the story off.
Do you have a favorite villain?
My favorite Marvel villain is Doctor Doom from Fantastic Four. For DC, I think it’s a popular choice, but it’s the Joker.
So if you had to compare your game on the court to any superhero, who would it be?
It would have to be someone slow and methodical, so I’ll go with The Beast from X-Men. He’s cerebral.
You’re leading a drawing class at the Boys & Girls Club, what are you drawing?
I drew a piece to coincide with the release of the game of myself and Hawkeye. I love drawing. It’s a passion of mine, and I’m a creative person. I always have my sketch book with me.
Have you ever drawn yourself as a superhero before?
I’ve never drawn myself as a superhero. I honestly never draw myself, so it was tough. But we’re going to draw, then we’re going to play the game for a little bit.
Are you worried the kids are going to beat you up in the game?
No, I’m certain they’re going to beat me up. [laughs]
You said you play a lot of “NBA 2K13.” What do you think of your character in the game?
I’m pretty happy with him. I think our whole team was created pretty closely to how we actually are. I have a good friend, Dan, who is really good with our team.
And I guess if you have any complaints, you can just go to Jay-Z since he is the executive producer of the game.
Right, I can just go straight to the top.
What’s it like with Jay-Z being so active with the Nets?
It’s cool because he’s all-in for the Brooklyn Nets, and he only wants the best for us. He helps create this identity that we have now, and it’s very cool to see him.
Does Jay-Z remind you of any of the Marvel characters?
Honestly, he has to be Black Panther, no question. He’s the coolest of the cool characters. I’ve been waiting for them to make a Black Panther movie for a while now.
Besides the new Avengers game, what other superhero games have been your favorites throughout the years?
The first couple of Spider-Man games for PS2 were great, when you were able to swing around the entire city. I love the “Batman: Arkham Asylum” and “Arkham City” games; they were both great. Last year when I was hurt, I pretty much just laid on my couch and played “Arkham City” for about a week straight.
I did the same thing, but I wasn’t injured.
Yeah, right. I couldn’t put that game down.
Is there a sibling rivalry between you and your twin brother over video games? Who is the better gamer?
I think I’m better. I have to say that I am. We used to play “NBA Live” a lot, and then we played “Triple Play 96” on the Genesis just a ton. Those were our knockout matches. Our record is probably pretty close to .500 for both of us, it’s that close when we play.
Is there a game now that helps settle the score? Do you take things to a fighting game like “Tekken”?
If we played a fighting game, it would be “Marvel vs. Capcom.” But I have to say, now we can beat each other up in this new “Avengers” game.
And because it’s on Kinect, you’re actually doing the moves.
Things could really get violent quickly with this one. [laughs]