Sports

Lopez twins headed back to the family’s basketball roots, and mom couldn’t be happier

Quincy Pondexter basketball camp

Former Memorial High star and New Orleans Pelicans guard/forward Quincy Pondexter held his four-day camp at Buchanan High. Ex-Memorial High teammates and NBA stars Robin and Brook Lopez helped out Wednesday.
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Former Memorial High star and New Orleans Pelicans guard/forward Quincy Pondexter held his four-day camp at Buchanan High. Ex-Memorial High teammates and NBA stars Robin and Brook Lopez helped out Wednesday.

When Deborah Ledford talks these days to the youngest of her four boys, twins Brook and Robin Lopez, basketball seldom comes up. She doesn’t bring it up. They don’t bring it up.

It never comes up. There’s a lot of anything but.

“It’s offseason, and I’m mom … we don’t talk about basketball,” she said.

Free agency and all that stuff? That’s why they have agents.

Ledford said she found out the same way most did that the Lopez twins would be playing for the same team for the first time since their days at Stanford, and before that San Joaquin Memorial High in Fresno.

It’s a dream come true for mom after 11 NBA seasons in which Brook played in New Jersey, Los Angeles for the Lakers and in Milwaukee and Robin was in Phoenix, New Orleans, Portland, New York and the past three seasons Chicago.

SPT EPZ LOPEZ BROS MOM.JPG
Deborah Ledford, seen in a 2008 file photo, says of her twin sons Brook and Robin playing together in the NBA for the first time: “This is my dream come true.” ERIC PAUL ZAMORA Fresno Bee file

“Until he was in the NBA Brook always played the four,” Ledford said. “He was a power forward and Robin was a center. But when they went to the NBA they were always as centers and I would say, ‘I wish they could be on the same team.’ But 7-foot centers are rare so the chances of them being on the same team playing the same spot … this is really great.“

It was clear to Ledford that the Bucks wanted to keep Brook, who reportedly received a four-year, $52 million deal.

But, she said, “We didn’t know what was going to happen with Robin. There are a lot of centers this year who were free agents. I didn’t know where Robin was going to go, and then when I heard that Milwaukee was on the list of places I thought, ‘Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful,’ but I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high.”

Robin Lopez signed a two-year contract with the Bucks reportedly worth a guaranteed $9.75 million.

Grandfather played in Milwuakee

It brought the family back to its basketball roots, Milwaukee, where Bob Ledford, the Lopez twins’ grandfather, played for the Allen-Bradleys in the National Industrial Basketball League.

Deborah Ledford was born in Milwaukee, as was her younger brother Tim.

At the time, the late 1940s and early 1950s, the NIBL competed with the NBA for players and included teams such as the Milwaukee Harnischfegers, the Peoria Caterpillars, the Akron Goodyear Wingfoots, the Denver Chevies and the Fort Wayne General Electrics.

In 1951-52, the league had 11 teams including the Los Angeles Fibber McGee & Mollys, Artesia REA Travelers and Santa Maria Golden Dukes.

Ledford was a key player for the Allen-Bradleys before going into coaching, first in Gordon, Neb., then Fort Morgan, Colo., and finally at Reedley High and Reedley College.

Coming home

Ledford said she’s looking forward to making plans to have the twins home at the same time during the season. The NBA releases its schedules toward the middle of August.

“We’ll know where they’ll be on Thanksgiving. We’ll know where they’ll be on Christmas. We know where they’ll be on their birthdays. We’ll know when they’ll be in California. Once the schedule comes out when we can set up what we’re going to be doing.

“This is my dream come true.”

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