New Magic Center Robin Lopez planning to continue work in Central Florida helping kids learn to read

ORLANDO, Fla. — Newly-signed Orlando Magic Center Robin Lopez is over seven feet tall, and when he’s not playing basketball, his mission is helping kids learn how to read.

Lopez is about to begin his first season with the Magic and showed off his reading skills at media day.

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“My Grandma had this huge collection of children’s books...books in general, but especially particularly children’s books.” Lopez recalls. “Anytime my mom would take us over there, we would just dive right in. I think that’s something that’s stayed with us, through our grandma, through our mom, through our aunts...anybody who’s fostered that love of reading we’ve had.”

Lopez has been in the NBA for 13 years, playing for eight different teams, including Portland, Chicago, and Milwaukee.

He works with literacy programs at each stop, helping to make sure kids have access to books.

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Robin and his twin brother Brook Lopez played together in Milwaukee last season. While there, they partnered with a local program called Next Door on a campaign called “Blocks for Books,” donating $50,000 to the cause which was matched by the NBA.

Lopez participated in a related program called “Read Big” when he played in Portland and said he plans to make similar efforts in Orlando connecting kids with books.

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Joe Kepner

Joe Kepner, WFTV.com

I unloaded the U-Haul in Orlando in 2008, just in time to cover the Magic's run to the 2009 NBA Finals.