With fond memories of playing for the Bulls, new Buck Robin Lopez beats them


At every turn, hugs greeted Robin Lopez in his Monday return to the United Center.

Well, except for the time Benny the Bull, one of many mascots the affable center has tormented over the years, threw a cardboard cutout of Lopez's likeness into a trash can during a bit aired on the scoreboard during a timeout.

Over three seasons as a Bull, Lopez earned widespread admiration from teammates and coaches for his selfless play and durability. That's why after dropping 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks on his former team, the new Bucks center even was warmly greeted when he visited the Bulls' locker room following the Bucks' 122-112 preseason victory.

"He was coachable and he was reliable, just a wonderful guy," Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. "Very intelligent guy. And I thought he was a great Bull while he was here during a difficult time. I wish him success."

Team success is what drew Lopez to the Bucks, who signed him as a free agent.

"It was cool," Lopez said of the free-agent process. "Everything happens so quickly now. A lot of teams inquired. I don’t want to say the choice was easy because a lot of quality organizations inquired. But obviously it was an appealing offer. Obviously, a very good organization top to bottom. They’re ideally trying to win now."

But what about playing with his twin brother, Brook, for the first time since they played collegiately at Stanford?

"You can’t have everything," Lopez cracked.

Yes, the shade-throwing between the two brothers will be going on all season. And with Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer's wide-open system leading to multiple 3-point opportunities for Brook last season, look for Robin's "tea-party" celebration following his made 3-pointers frequently this season.

"I think we felt what was best for him and our situation with Wendell Carter that it was best for him maybe to find another opportunity, which we had no doubt that he would. But he was a terrific player for the team for us,"  Boylen said. "He was a dynamic screener. And he was an ‘Amen’ guy in the locker room, so when you say something he’d always give you an ‘Amen’ because he believes in the right things."

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