Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto soon will get a new neighbor. His name is Brook Lopez.
Lopez — like his twin brother Robin, the Knicks’ starting center — has been a Disney fanatic since he was a kid. He collects Disney memorabilia, he frequents the amusement parks and he currently is having a house built in a real estate development on Disney property.
Lopez, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds in the Nets’ 111-96 loss to the Wizards on Saturday, will be in the area of his future offseason home on Wednesday when the Nets travel to Orlando to play the Magic.
“The house just shows his love of Disney,” Lopez’s mother, Deborah Ledford, said in a phone interview Saturday. “That’s his childhood.”
Ledford raised the Lopez brothers in Fresno, California, which is just a four-hour drive from Disneyland in Anaheim. The twins took an immediate interest in Disney — not just for the rides or the characters with the funny voices, but because of an appreciation for the artwork.
“What they did that perhaps your average kid doesn’t do is they appreciate the artwork,” Ledford said. “They would look closely at the cartoons. They really appreciate Walt Disney’s creativity. We are Californians, so we’d go to Disneyland a couple times a year and the boys would always love it.”
Before each trip, Ledford recalled the boys sitting in the backyard with a notebook, plotting out the itinerary for the amusement park so they wouldn’t miss any attractions. “They’d have it down to times,” she said. “We’ll go on this ride at 9:05 and then here at 9:17.”
Even when the twins were young, height requirements on the rides were never an issue. And now they actually have some Disney rides of their own.
Their Disney collection began when they were young and their grandmother began giving them Disney keepsakes. They have posters and pins and figurines, but Ledford said they also have spaceships and cars that once were used as rides at Disney’s amusement parks. Their inventory includes memorabilia from Disneyland to Disney World to Hong Kong Disney.
“They started really young and have been extending it over the years,” Ledford said. “Now they just have everything.”
It all stems from an appreciation of the artwork. In some ways, the Lopez brothers hope to follow in the footsteps of Walt Disney. When their playing days are over, they hope to get involved in animation, graphic novels and cartoons.
“They want to go into that side of things for their second career,” Ledford said. “But that’s 10 years from now.”