Robin Lopez Travel Diary: RoLo Arrives In Russia

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez, along with his twin brother Brook of the Brooklyn Nets, are on traveling through Russia as a part of an NBA tour to increase interest in basketball overseas. Here’s what Robin had to say after his first day in Russia (as told to Casey Holdahl) …

rolo100Hello from Moscow! Your globetrotting Trail Blazer and international raconteur Robin Lopez here. I’m traveling with a Lopez-rich junket across Russia with the NBA to promote basketball in the former Eastern Bloc. The NBA has been building and remodeling a lot of basketball courts out here in Moscow, Perm and other areas in Russia, so we’re out here just trying to facilitate the excitement that’s been growing around basketball internationally.

Starting out in Fresno on Tuesday, my older brother Chris and I flew to Los Angeles then to Moscow, where we met up with Brook. There was really nothing remarkable that happened on the way there. We left L.A. around 4 pm and ended up getting into Moscow around 3:30 pm. That’s almost 13 uneventful hours, which, considering some recent events, is a good thing.

We went straight from the airport to the hotel, which is right across from the Kremlin and Red Square. You can almost see St. Basil’s Cathedral, one of the most iconic European landmarks, from my hotel room. It’s just out of view, but it’s there.

We had the rest of the day off, so we took a quick stroll into Red Square, which was everything I was expecting and nothing I was expecting. It was interesting. The architecture is definitely an East meets West feel, a hodgepodge of cultures. There’s Nordic influences, some Italian, some Indian, some Turkish. It’s such a mix of cultures. For the most part, as an American, my view of Russia mostly shaped through spy movies and superhero comic books, along with a few history classes I’ve taken. So it’s nice to see the real Russia, not the vilified version you see in fiction. And despite some frosty relations between the United States and Russia, I haven’t noticed any animosity at all. People have been very friendly and welcoming right from the start. Nothing standoffish or anything of the sort.

Walking around Moscow, we get the typical responses from people that we get in the States. Everybody’s response to height is pretty universal. A lot of the girls are surely turning their heads because of my Harrison Ford-ish good looks, which again, is a typical response anywhere in the world. We’re really not so different.

And on the subject of my dashing good looks, you might have noticed, at least if you follow me on Instagram, that I’m wearing my travel hat. I’ve had a travel hat ever since I took a trip to Italy when I was playing at Stanford. This one isn’t the original hat, but I keep replacing it with reasonable facsimiles. It’s the Adventurer’s Hat. I start playing a character, of sorts, when I bring out that hat. I don’t want to infringe on any copyrights so I won’t name any names, but I think it’s pretty obvious which iconic character I’m channeling. On a totally unrelated note, has anyone see Short Round lately?

Today, we got to interact with a lot of fans during a little camp we put on at a tournament. There were four or five outdoor courts set up underneath an overpass. It was a very neat setting, almost like something out a video game or movie, like some kind of kung-fu basketball globetrotting movie. Something ridiculous like that. It was cool. We got to hang out with a bunch of locals, went through some drills with them. They were just so excited to play basketball with us, especially the woman throwing up the peace sign there.

rolo_moscow1

 

As you can see, my friend and teammate Damian Lillard is here as well, at least in spirit. That guy is everywhere.

 

We’re going to be in Russia until Sunday. We leave from Perm tomorrow afternoon and we’ll be there just for the night and the next morning before flying out the next day.

I want to see as much as possible. The recreation of the Amber Room is in St. Petersburg. Things got all mixed up after World War II, so no one knows where the real, original Amber Room is. Who knows, maybe I’ll stumble upon it somewhere in Perm. After all, I’m wearing this hat.

As for the food, I’m eating very well. A diet rich in crepes and nuetella, cornerstones of any delicious breakfast the world over. Nic said their was a crepe bar over by the practice facility, so I’m hoping I can find other international culinary delights that I can try out with Nic when we both get back to Portland, maybe set up a little date.

We also had some Georgian food, which was fantastic. There was also this soda made from grass, or at least it originally was. Now it’s a distillation of the essence of what the original soda was. The flavor of the grass was fantastic, but to be honest, they also had a pear-flavored soda that was better. I might see if they can send a case of that back to Fresno. That would be nice.

That’s about it for today. Check back tomorrow for more tales of international intrigue. Do svidanya!

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Robin Lopez On The New ‘Star Wars’ Trailer, Light Sabers And Black Stormtroopers

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez discussed the recently released trailer for the upcoming “Star Wars” film “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” after Tuesday’s shootaround at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Lopez, who was given approval by the Portland Police to watch the trailer while driving to the team’s practice facility, would go on to hit the first game-winner of his career roughly 10 hours later, lifting the Trail Blazers to a 105-103 victory.

Lopez discussed his general thoughts on the trailer, the reaction it has received around the internet, the features of a new light saber shown in the clip and why it’s dumb to complain about black Stormtroopers.

Robin Lopez: It was fine. Obviously they only showed so much, but they could make 10 bad “Star Wars” films and I think any new trailer is going to get a certain response just based off how popular and how endearing the first three are.

They’ve already made two bad “Star Wars” films, arguably three…

Robin Lopez: I’m going to go with three. I’m not a fan of the last one.

I’m not either, but I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Robin Lopez: Regardless, there’s a certain fan boy glee you get out of hearing the “Star Wars” fanfare paired with the Millennium Falcon doing aerial acrobatics. What’s not to love about that?

I was surprised by how much people were complaining about it.

Robin Lopez: What’s to complain about, you know? I don’t know what you can really complain about in it. It did what it’s supposed to do. It’s a teaser.

You’ve got Tatooine, you’ve got the Millennium Falcon…

Robin Lopez: Possibly the only thing is the light saber might be a little ridiculous, but that’s a very minor, minor, minor, minor complaint. I mean, I don’t think it’s out of place in the “Star Wars” universe. I’m not a fan of it…

I don’t know, I thought it might keep the Sith from getting their hands cut off, but other people said it would increase the likelihood of cutting off your own hand.

Robin Lopez: I would hope there’s something below the saber hilt or the laser hilt. There’s some kind of other hilt I suppose, but I don’t know.

What do you think about some complaining that there’s a black Stormtrooper? That seems like a rather odd complaint. It is a universe, after all.

Robin Lopez: It seems very odd considering the multitude of people and lifeforms in the universe and how far The Empire has spread it’s reach. That there’s a quibble about a black Stormtrooper, I can’t really comment on it because I don’t understand the complaint at all.

I still can’t figure out why there are only human storm troopers. How are there no alien storm troopers?

Robin Lopez: In reality, how many storm troopers have we seen without their helmets on? Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, neither of which really counts, and now this dude. There could be anybody in those helmets.

The only time we really see Stormtroopers without their helmets on is in the scene with all the Jango Fett clones.

Robin Lopez: Those are the clone troopers. I’m saying, as far as actual Stormtroopers from the original trilogy, we really haven’t seen them.

They could be all black!

Robin Lopez: Yeah! You don’t know what they look like under the mask. I don’t understand the complaint.

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Robin Lopez On The New 'Star Wars' Trailer, Light Sabers And Black Stormtroopers

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez discussed the recently released trailer for the upcoming “Star Wars” film “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” after Tuesday’s shootaround at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Lopez, who was given approval by the Portland Police to watch the trailer while driving to the team’s practice facility, would go on to hit the first game-winner of his career roughly 10 hours later, lifting the Trail Blazers to a 105-103 victory.

Lopez discussed his general thoughts on the trailer, the reaction it has received around the internet, the features of a new light saber shown in the clip and why it’s dumb to complain about black Stormtroopers.

Robin Lopez: It was fine. Obviously they only showed so much, but they could make 10 bad “Star Wars” films and I think any new trailer is going to get a certain response just based off how popular and how endearing the first three are.

They’ve already made two bad “Star Wars” films, arguably three…

Robin Lopez: I’m going to go with three. I’m not a fan of the last one.

I’m not either, but I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Robin Lopez: Regardless, there’s a certain fan boy glee you get out of hearing the “Star Wars” fanfare paired with the Millennium Falcon doing aerial acrobatics. What’s not to love about that?

I was surprised by how much people were complaining about it.

Robin Lopez: What’s to complain about, you know? I don’t know what you can really complain about in it. It did what it’s supposed to do. It’s a teaser.

You’ve got Tatooine, you’ve got the Millennium Falcon…

Robin Lopez: Possibly the only thing is the light saber might be a little ridiculous, but that’s a very minor, minor, minor, minor complaint. I mean, I don’t think it’s out of place in the “Star Wars” universe. I’m not a fan of it…

I don’t know, I thought it might keep the Sith from getting their hands cut off, but other people said it would increase the likelihood of cutting off your own hand.

Robin Lopez: I would hope there’s something below the saber hilt or the laser hilt. There’s some kind of other hilt I suppose, but I don’t know.

What do you think about some complaining that there’s a black Stormtrooper? That seems like a rather odd complaint. It is a universe, after all.

Robin Lopez: It seems very odd considering the multitude of people and lifeforms in the universe and how far The Empire has spread it’s reach. That there’s a quibble about a black Stormtrooper, I can’t really comment on it because I don’t understand the complaint at all.

I still can’t figure out why there are only human storm troopers. How are there no alien storm troopers?

Robin Lopez: In reality, how many storm troopers have we seen without their helmets on? Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, neither of which really counts, and now this dude. There could be anybody in those helmets.

The only time we really see Stormtroopers without their helmets on is in the scene with all the Jango Fett clones.

Robin Lopez: Those are the clone troopers. I’m saying, as far as actual Stormtroopers from the original trilogy, we really haven’t seen them.

They could be all black!

Robin Lopez: Yeah! You don’t know what they look like under the mask. I don’t understand the complaint.

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Robin Lopez Mascot Beef Spills Over Into Major League Baseball

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

Friday night, Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez was in Seattle to throw out the first pitch at Safeco Field prior to the Mariners defeating the White Sox 4-1.

Looks like he threw a strike. A bit of movement on that pitch as well. Nice work RoLo. But anyone who knows Lopez’s history knows that the first pitch was likely little more than an excuse to be within punching distance of the Mariners mascot, Mariner Moose, who obviously didn’t realize what kind of trouble he was getting himself into …

After sparing with numerous NBA mascots last season, Lopez is now using his downtime in the offseason to bully some MLB mascots by dunking on their heads and pushing them to the ground for their lunch money …

You’re next, Lou Seal.

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