And today - and through Sunday night only - I am seeking your friendship and rooting interest on behalf of my beloved Denver Nuggets. Because we desperately need your help. You see, as many of you have experienced in recent years, we are on the verge of being yet another small market franchise to be knocked out of the playoffs by the Evil Empire known as the Los Angeles Lakers
I know rooting for the Nuggets may on the surface seem preposterous to you. Kings fans are upset with J.R. Smith disrespecting your team while attempting to set the NBA's three-pointers made record in a meaningless blowout. Blazers fans still can't believe they had to cede the division title to us even though we had identical records and split our head-to-head matchups. Timberwolves fans likely haven't gotten over Carmelo Anthony tying an NBA best record with 33 points in a quarter at your team's expense. And if you're that one remaining Clippers fan, you're probably still stewing over the two at-LA games you gave away to us (actually, who am I kidding? All you care about is Blake Griffin right now).
But if we can put our past disputes behind us I know we can unify around one thing: our mutual hatred of the Lakers
and the NBA's
insistence on getting them into the NBA Finals.
Before committing to our cause, pardon me while I get you riled up (playoff series record against the Lakers
in the Kobe Bryant Era in bold
For Kings (0-3
) fans: surely you remember the worst officiated game in NBA history - Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals - costing you your best chance of ever getting to the NBA Finals. The free throw disparity in that game? Lakers
40, Kings 25.
For Spurs (2-4
) fans: with a chance to tie the Lakers
at two games apiece in last year's semifinals, Mark Wunderlich
swallows his whistle when Derek Fisher hammers Brent Barry on a final three-point attempt.
For Rockets (0-3
) fans: instead of ragging on me and my cohorts this late into May, you're probably watching the Astros
thanks to the Lakers
running away with your conference finals appearance after giving you no respect throughout that series.
For Jazz (2-2
) fans: even though you're the tougher, meaner team, the Lakers
have taken you out of the postseason for two consecutive years.
) fans: you finally break through to the conference finals in 2004 with a fun loving, hard working team only to go up against a lazy Lakers
team that internally hated each other's guts but defeated you nonetheless. I don't think there's ever been a more undeserving NBA Finals participant than the 2003-04 Lakers
For Trailblazers (0-5
) fans: your most recent best chance of an NBA Finals bid was ruined in Los Angeles in 2000 thanks to a garbage Brian Shaw bank shot three-pointer, suspect foul calls that favored (guess who?) the Lakers
and the worst shooting fourth quarter in Blazers history. The Lakers
-to-Blazers free throw disparity in that game was an unheard of 37 to 16.
For Grizzlies (n/a
) fans: Pau Gasol
mails in his last season for your team only to lower his trade value so the Lakers
could poach him from you for nothing. Your reward for rooting for Pau
all those years in Memphis? His stiff brother Marc.
For Suns (2-1
) fans: actually, you've beaten the Lakers
in three of your last four playoff series meetings...but as longtime division rivals you have every right to hate them.
For Clippers (n/a
) fan: with your one chance of defeating your cross-stadium rivals in a playoff series on the line in 2006, they choked against the Suns after being up 3-1 and ducked you.
You're probably saying to yourself: I get it, I hate the Lakers
. But why should I root for the Nuggets?
I'll tell you why.
First off, over the course of our franchise history we've never done you any harm. Up until very recently you didn't even cringe when you saw the Nuggets coming up on your schedule.
Secondly (and I'm exempting Houston and the Clippers here), like you we're a small market team. We get limited dollars from local sponsors, local TV deals and ticket revenue from fans who don't make that much money in the first place.
Thirdly, like most of you I root for the team I grew up with, not the one that happened to be winning when I was old enough to understand basketball
(like my Benedict Arnold brother who roots for the Lakers
). I've literally been going to Nuggets games since I was in the womb. There's no such thing as a bandwagon Nuggets fan, just as there's no such thing as a bandwagon Spurs, Jazz, Kings, Timberwolves
, Suns, Rockets, Grizzlies or Clippers fan (except my friend Matt in LA who abandoned 30 years of Lakers
loyalty to root for the Clips in 2006...not uncommon among Lakers
fans, by the way).
I thank you in advance for your consideration and hope you join me in emphatically saying: GO NUGGETS!!