Brook has competition in NY - his twin Robin

Brooklyn Nets' Brook Lopez (left) with twin Robin, who was with the Portland Trail Blazers last season, is considered the better player.
Brooklyn Nets' Brook Lopez (left) with twin Robin, who was with the Portland Trail Blazers last season, is considered the better player.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • They are both 2.13m-tall centres playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and now, both the Lopez twins will play in New York.

This is where the similarities end.

Whereas the Brooklyn Nets' Brook keeps his hair short and his face shaved, Robin - signed by the New York Knicks over the weekend - sports a wild mane of curly locks and a thick beard.

Nets fans, used to Brook's quiet production, may find themselves doing double-takes if Robin, who is adept at social media, creates a more visible presence for himself in New York than his twin has.

In fairness to Brook, even if he is not as outgoing as his brother, he has generally been regarded as the superior player.

He hit the ground running in the NBA, starting 75 games in his rookie season with the Nets in 2008-09, while Robin took time to develop.

Despite some significant injuries, Brook has averaged 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds a game in his career. He made the All-Star team in 2013.

Yet, he has sometimes failed to connect with fans who have seen him on the trading block nearly as often as he has been injured.

Robin, on the other hand, has been a fan favourite but his status as a complementary player has many Knicks fans wondering how much of an answer he is as the team try to rebuild from a terrible 2014-15 season.

His averages of 8.2 points and five rebounds a game for his career do not jump out but, over the last three seasons, he has shown he can be a capable starting centre.

Knicks fans, who miss the gritty, hard-working, successful teams of the 1990s, will probably appreciate his approach to the game, even if he spends his free time getting into exaggerated fake feuds with opposing teams' mascots.

David Deckard, who is the managing editor of Blazer's Edge, a website dedicated to the Portland Trail Blazers - Robin's previous team - said he is the ideal player to slide in next to a big star like the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony.

"Robin doesn't need the ball," Deckard said. "Robin doesn't need to score. Robin rebounds, defends and makes smart plays, including finding the open man.

"They should get along fine."

As different as the twins may be on the court, they are close when out of uniform.

Brook will probably always be the bigger star and his career earnings, which are more than twice Robin's, reflect that.

However, Robin, a minute younger, seemingly has no problem with being viewed as a lesser player, often joking about it on social media.

In any event, New York's many basketball fans can probably now look forward to some animated arguments about which Lopez is more valuable - the quiet star or the hard-working role player.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2015, with the headline 'Brook has competition in NY - his twin Robin'. Print Edition | Subscribe