Needless to say, Dillon Brooks has long embraced being the villain.
But the polarizing forward would like to make it clear: It’s all just on the court.
“It’s just a persona,” he said, “People love it.”
The 27-year-old gained fame in the last NBA season for his provocations plus his physical style of play. But, again, all that is just his way of approaching the game, similar to the late Kobe Bryant and his ‘Black Mamba’ alter-ego.
“It’s just like Kobe Bryant — RIP to Kobe Bryant — how he had to figure out how to create Black Mamba, you know, a different persona when he comes on the court. I guess that’s my persona, the villain,” he offered.
“Just on the court,” continued Brooks, who’s entering his sixth season in the Association.
“But, I’m a loving and caring guy who loves my kids, loves my family, loves my teammates, and just loves the world as well.”
He may be a villain for some but in Canada, he is, without a shadow of a doubt, a hero, given his stellar play in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 that has helped the team from North America a great deal.
So much that he received MVP chants.
It happened on Sunday night, when he helped the Canadians outlast the United States in a thrilling overtime encounter before 10,666 fans in attendance at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay to bag home the bronze medal
Brooks was booed earlier in the game but the crowd would have a change of heart eventually following a performance for the ages. He finished with 39 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field, on top of four rebounds and five assists.
“Really proud of Dillon. This is how it looks like when they let Dillon Brooks play,” lauded head coach Jordi Fernandez Torres of the former Oregon Duck, who shot an efficient 12-of-18 clip from the field in 42 minutes.
“It’s not just on the defensive end, that he’s the best, with Lu [Dort], the best perimeter defender in the World Cup. And offensively, he’s been extremely efficient… today was his performance,” added the Spanish mentor.
Brooks is no stranger to being serenaded with MVP chants. He already got those during their stunning win over France in the Group Phase in Indonesia, where he finished with 12 points on 5-of-6 field goal shooting.
But definitely, Sunday’s was much sweeter, since he helped Canada annex its first World Cup medal following a performance for the ages, where he surpassed the single-game scoring record by a Canadian (34, Carl Ridd) in the global meet.
For him, it’s another reminder to never settle.
“It’s just an amazing feeling to be recognized during the game. But, you know, I just never take it for granted. The work doesn’t stop here. It keeps going. I’m not satisfied, and neither is every one of us in this team,” he said.
Plus, it’s a testament to his personal success made possible by the team.
“It was so enjoyable. The hate doesn’t stop, it keeps going. But just having my country behind me, head coach behind me, general manager, all these guys behind me trying to help me succeed,” said Brooks.
“Nothing about the politics, nothing with anything to do with contracts or any of those things … It’s just a great feeling to win bronze, continuously creating history throughout this country.”