As has become an annual event before kicking off a new Denver Nuggets season, we here at Denver Stiffs proudly present the 2012 Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame induction class, voted in by our amazing readers from a nomination list presented a few weeks ago. And at the bottom of this column we will announce the three winners of a Denver Stiffs T-shirt, featuring our new logo!
As has been written about ad nauseum here at Denver Stiffs, the Nuggets franchise has had no shortage of Stiffs throughout the years. Be it draft busts like Nikoloz Tskitishvili and Julius Hodge, white roster-fillers like Joe Wolf and Mark Pope, or hard-working-but-not-particularly-talented players like Danny Schayes and Ryan Bowen, the Nuggets seem to have had more Stiffs historically than your average NBA team. Hence why this site's name is Denver ... Stiffs!
For this year's class, we focused on fan favorites and future Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame induction classes will have themes, as well. So without further adieu, let's see who will be joining other Denver Nuggets fan favorites like Bowen, Schayes, Bill Hanzlik and Scott Hastings in the Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame ...
Eduardo Najera (42 votes) and Mark Randall (15)
Others receiving votes: Rodney Rodgers (13), Jerome Lane (9), Reggie Williams (8), Joe Kopicki (7)
Write-ins: Reggie Evans (8), Renaldo Balkman (4) and Keon Clark (1)
Analysis: I was surprised to see Najera run away with the lion's share of votes among forwards. But I guess the fans sincerely appreciated Najera's efforts for three-and-a-half seasons during the height of "The Thuggets" Era. Playing alongside big egos like Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, Marcus Camby, Allen Iverson and J.R. Smith, many times it seemed like Najera was the only player on the floor who actually cared about a game's outcome, whether it be taking a big charge, diving for loose balls or laying down hard fouls.
Randall's induction is long overdue. Not only was he the consummate Stiff (per former head coach Doug Moe's definition), but he's a Denver native, a great guy and still works for the Nuggets doing community work. The Denver Stiffs HOF always felt incomplete with Hastings and Hanzlik inducted, but not Randall. Well, we can't say that anymore.
Blair Rasmussen (52)
Others receiving votes: Chris Andersen (44), Brian Williams aka Bison Dele (15), Wayne Cooper (7)
Analysis: I kind of regretted nominating The Birdman as soon as I hit the "publish" button in my nomination column. Especially after Birdman almost overtook Rasmussen for induction! As we all know, Birdman became an ex-Nugget very recently, and while he's destined to be a member of the Denver Stiffs HOF some day, it would be a little too soon to induct him now.
Rasmussen, on the other hand, was edged out by Hastings in 2008 and finally gets in now in his second year of nomination. Rasmussen gets to join his former teammate Schayes where the two truly belong together for eternity: the Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame.
Todd Lichti (24) and T.R. Dunn (22)
Others receiving votes: Robert Pack (20), Michael Adams (12), Monte Towe (10), Glen Gondrezick (7), Bobby Jackson (3)
Write-ins: Anthony Carter (8), Earl Boykins (4), Anthony Goldwire (1), Brooks Thompson (1)
Analysis: Lichti, Dunn and Pack evenly divided the votes among them, with Lichti and Dunn winning just enough votes for induction. With Rasmussen and Dunn's induction, most of the core of the Nuggets second "Golden Era" of the 1980s are all in the Denver Stiffs HOF: Hanzlik, Schayes, Rasmussen and Dunn. Now we just need to get Cooper in one of these days.
Lichti's career was cut short due to injuries and of course we sadly remember the tragic car crash that fatally killed his girlfriend after his rookie year. But being white, the 15th overall pick in the draft and a Stanford alum cemented Lichti as a future Denver Stiffs HOFer.
We did a great job inducting another Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame class - and it's not too late to start thinking about themes for next year's class. Here is the current roster of Denver Stiffs HOFers ...
Scott Hastings (2008)
Priest Lauderdale (2010)
Blair Rasmussen (2012)
Danny Schayes (2009)
Bernie Bickerstaff (2010)
And the winners of our NEW Denver Stiffs T-shirts are readers moondoggie12, TyLawesome and Anthony Frank C (who submitted his votes via email). Please note that we are in the process of having the T-shirts designed and when they're ready, we'll get them out to you. In the meantime, please email me with your mailing addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you again to all of our fellow Stiffs for participating in another Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame. And with the new season just weeks away, let's say it all together: Go Nuggets!!