San Joaquin Memorial High School alum Brook Lopez wins NBA championship

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Tuesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks clinched their first NBA Championship since 1971.

The victory gave San Joaquin Memorial High School alum Brook Lopez his first title in his first trip to the finals.

"It's such an honor to be in that same category, same league as Kareem, Big O, all those guys from that championship team from 50 years ago," Lopez said in an interview.

Back in 2006, Lopez and his twin brother, Robin, helped lead the SJM Panthers to a Valley Championship, so the success of #32 is no surprise for the school's current athletic director.

"It's been a good, exciting day," says Stephen Ferdinandi.

Ferdinandi says the NBA championship is a win for the entire SJM family. He was a senior when Lopez and his brother were sophomores.

"As Memorial, as a school, as an alumni and somebody especially who was here when Brook was at Memorial, to see the success that he's had, the way he's handled it with composure and poise," he said.

Ferdinandi says San Joaquin Memorial is a close-knit family with about 600 students at any given time and everyone knows each other.

"I can remember him and Robin coming in at 7 am, getting in the gym and working extra when not many people were here and not many people noticed," he said. Seeing that work ethic back then when they were students here and how that's progressed, it's been really nice to see them and see them in town and such."

The school is not the only place celebrating. Fans and one Valley business are also feeling the impact of having a hometown hoops hero.

"We've had actually a lot of response, people calling in finding out for any championship stuff, asking for Brook Lopez merchandise, which we don't have, unfortunately, right now," says Sports Station General Manager Jill Crecelius. "It's kind of nice to have the local guy do good."

Both Brook and Robin will be inducted into the San Joaquin Memorial Athletic Hall of Fame this Fall.
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