highly-touted prep star who went on to star at St. John's
University, Felipe Lopez joined
the Vancouver Grizzlies after a Draft Day trade from San
Antonio which sent guard Antonio Daniels to the
Upon his arrival at St.
John's, the 6-6 guard from the Dominican Republic, was
greeted with out-of-this world expectations of
resurrecting a Red Storm program that had been stuck in
the bottom half of the Big East Conference for several
years. Lopez met -- and exceeded -- all expectations.
Upon his departure, he ranked third on St. John's
all-time scoring list with 1,927 points (trailing only Chris Mullin and Malik Sealy), sixth in
Big East history with 1,222 conference points and brought
the school a long-awaited trip to the NCAA Tournament in
His transition to the NBA has been a
relatively smooth one for 6-6 guard, as he needed only 15
games to crack Vancouver's starting lineup and has since
averaged 11.3 ppg and 4.3 rpg. Lopez is teamed with Mike Bibby in the
Grizzlies all-rookie backcourt, and with Shareef Abdur-Rahim
and Bryant Reeves
patrolling the paint, Vancouver has several key
ingredients in place as they look towards the future.
The first native of the Dominican
Republic to play in the NBA, Lopez spent this past summer
holding basketball clinics in his homeland and raising
funds and collecting food, water and building supplies
for victims of Hurricane Georges. He also made public
appearances to raise awareness and money for the region.
Felipe took time to answer your
questions in a live chat.
jose from fmr.com at
Is it hard to get platanos in Vancouver?
Felipe Lopez at 4:34pm ET
Actually, my people from New York brought me some when
they were here. It's a little bit harder to find than in
New York (laughs).
C Nunez from dsl.concentric.net
at 4:34pm ET
How does it feel to be one of the first Hispanics to play
in the NBA, and do you think that now that we have one
more hispanic playing we're going to see more of it?
Felipe Lopez at 4:35pm ET
I feel proud of who I am and where I come from. What I
love the most is the support I get from every Latino from
around the country. It makes me feel good, to know people
care. And it makes me want to do more and more for the
Spanish-speaking community, so we can have more Latinos
in the NBA.
CJ Guidry from proxy.aol.com
at 4:35pm ET
How are you handling your transition from college to the
Felipe Lopez at 4:36pm ET
I think the NBA is a lot better, you play a more
one-on-one game, and that's my type of game. I don't play
with as much pressure on me here as I did in college.
Here, you work hard, but you also know you've made it to
the top. In college, it was crazy.
Stuart Klein from micron.net
at 4:36pm ET
Is the NBA life what you expected it to be?
Felipe Lopez at 4:37pm ET
Actually, it is more than what I expected. The
opportunities you get, how people look at you., it's
different. Definitely, you've got to know how to handle
yourself, because there are so many distractions you can
have, outside of basketball.
Franz Stenschke at 4:37pm ET
How did you get the nick name, el major?
Felipe Lopez at 4:40pm ET
(laughs). Probably because I am the first Latino, the
first Dominican in the NBA, drafted in the first round.
There's a lot of nicknames I have. Also, the Machine, the
Beast. My family used to call me Ginaja. That's the name
for an old water container back home. (laughs).
Julian at 4:40pm ET
What fond memories do you have of playing during the 1995
pre-Olympic Games in Argentina?
Felipe Lopez at 4:42pm ET
I do remember Argentina whipping our butt! (laughs). But
it was one of the best moments in my basketball career
because I got to play against guys like Oscar Schmidt. I
won the scoring title by one point over him. It was my
first time competing outside the Dominican Republic with
the Dominican team.
Francis at 4:44pm ET
Felipe, se que hablas español has escuchado de Eddie
Casiano base del equipo nacional de Puerto Rico?
Felipe Lopez at 4:45pm ET
Si, yo conozco Eddie Casiano, un buen tirador del campo
de afuera y uno de los mejores jugadores in la liga de
antvaldez from codetel.net.do
at 4:46pm ET
Es cierto que enviaste una ayuda economica al GUG en
Santiago. De ser así, cuál fue la cantidad?
Felipe Lopez at 4:50pm ET
Si, yo ayude ha contribue para mejorar del equipo gug con
apportaciones de equipo del juego. La cantidad no es
necessario, si no el pensamiento.
Omar Nova from bellatlantic.net
at 4:50pm ET
Felipe, who was your favorite basketball player growing
Felipe Lopez at 4:52pm ET
Since I grew up in the Dominican Republic, I watched the
national team, so I have been watching a guy named
Benicio Munoz all my life. He is still my idol to this
day. He was a shooting guard.
Juan Carlos B. at 4:52pm ET
What impact do you think playing with Mike Bibby will
have on your career and how you develop in the future?
Felipe Lopez at 4:54pm ET
Without knocking anybody else down, he is the best point
guard I ever played with, including my point guard from
high school, Jerry McCullough. He really knows how to
play the game, he is so smart. In the long run, we have
learned how to feed off each other. That will make both
of us better players.
Jorge at 4:54pm ET
What do you think of the influx of international players
in the NBA?
Felipe Lopez at 4:56pm ET
I think that international players are growing every
year. And that's because of what the foreign players
bring to the NBA. It's a different style and it helps the
league. It has introduced the game to more of the
Spanish-speaking community, and it has opened a lot of
doors for people, I hope.
Rocco from node.wdn.net
at 4:56pm ET
Hey Felipe, are you still close to your ex-teammates at
St. John's, like Zendon Hamilton?
Felipe Lopez at 4:57pm ET
Uh-huh. I am still in contact with a lot of them,
especially some of the senior guys. I already know what
it takes to get to the NBA, with the experience I have
from last year. I have just tried to help them out, what
it's like going to a different team, a different kind of
workout and schedule, that kind of thing. I want to help
give them an advantage. So, yeah, we are still in touch.
Guillermo at 4:58pm ET
Felipe, you waited until after your senior season to
declare your eligibility for the draft. Obviously, it was
worth the wait. What do you think about players leaving
Felipe Lopez at 4:59pm ET
I believe different players have different situations. I
felt like I needed to get something besides basketball in
my life, to make me feel proud about whatever I am doing.
It made me a different person, I am not just a basketball
player, I am a basketball player with a degree. It's
different for everyone, but I feel that time was spent
making me a better person.
j-dog from proxy.aol.com
at 4:59pm ET
What is your favorite music group?
Felipe Lopez at 5:01pm ET
My favorite music group right now would probably me Nas.
I also like Method Man, the Wu Clan, J.Z. and Biggie. And
I cannot leave Tupac behind. But I am still into roots,
merengue and salsa, too. That's in my blood.
Marius Ursu from proxy.aol.com
at 5:01pm ET
Felipe, how does your family handle you living in
Felipe Lopez at 5:02pm ET
There is no problem. They have been here about four or
five times already. they come and stay for a whole week.
Just like myself, they love the city. But I cannot wait
to get back to New York and stay with my family. Even
though the NBA season has been short, for me it has been
a long season as a rookie. I am not used to traveling and
having so many games.
at 5:02pm ET
Thanks for joining us, Felipe. Any closing comments for
all your fans from around the world?
Felipe Lopez at 5:04pm ET
If anyone wants to reach me, you can go to the Grizzlies
homepage. You can always ask questions there, I am more
frequently there. I do apologize for not answering some
of the other questions, but there were so many, and not
enough time. I want to thank everyone for taking their
time, and supporting me. It's been fun. Bye.