When my parents decided to procreate 31 years ago, they probably had no idea that their son was going to turn out to be a Nuggets fan. But my folks did know about the Nuggets because Larry Brown (the Nuggets head coach from 1974-1979) lived just down the street on Lansing Way in Englewood, Colorado.
When my family moved to Parker, CO in 1988 (from Conifer, CO), we found a basketball goal on our five-acre plot of land -- it was hidden back by a dog run behind the barn. I wanted to get that sucker up as fast as possible. My dad got a pole, we set it up in cement by the house, and I was ready to start playing. Eventually that old backboard and rim would break down and my folks got me a new backboard and rim and we painted the pole gray to match the new hoop. I was in heaven. I used to jack up three pointers on the regular and would draw a three-point line with my foot on the dirt. I never had a paved court, but we did eventually get some crushed asphalt for the driveway and that would serve better than the dirt. I was old school - felt like Ricky Roe from Blue Chips.
Alas, my hoop dreams never went further than NBA Jam and some legendary recreation center games in Parker. To this day I curse my decision to give up on hoops to play football. All I have to show for it is two arthritic shoulders and more than a few concussions. I was easily the worst backup offensive tackle of all time, but I'd like to think I was the best three-point shooting backup offensive tackle that ever lived (in Parker).
It's not like I ever would have made the NBA, but basketball is such a beautiful game that it makes me sad to think I didn't maximize the talent I had. I am glad that I've started playing hoops more regularly again and that I can still play a little bit (a very little bit).
I've been writing about the Nuggets since 2005. I started out as a moderator for a Nuggets board out there on the interwebs. When the site Pickaxe and Roll was left vacated in 2009 - I jumped at a chance to resurrect SB Nation's site. People started to pick up that the site was again active and they even seemed to like the junk I was typing up. It was a little overwhelming writing the blog on my own and I felt bad when I couldn't write a recap or a preview due to a scheduling conflict. It was a blessing when I found out that Andrew Feinstein wanted to team up with me on SB Nation.
I didn't know much about Feinstein. I knew he had that old FGK.com site and frankly, I was worried the guy was a bit of a nut! - although I did read his Denver Stiffs site and saw a change in how he was approaching the game of hoops. So, we decided to have a meeting to talk about our ideas for the blog and that went well - so here we are now!
I've been lucky to work with Andy and to call him a friend. Feinstein and I were lucky that Jeff Morton and Colin Neilson agreed to come aboard to help us out. Jeff has become a good friend and somebody that I love to talk Nuggets with. On the days I don't write, I find myself eager to check out what Andy, Jeff, Colin, and Ray Martinelli have written. A lot has changed for me over the past four years and I find that my Stiffs family has become more-and-more important and I really enjoy the friendships and opportunities that this blog - our work - has created.
The one thing that has eluded me?
A win on my birthday!
The day I was born - March 19th, 1982 - the Nuggets were busy in Denver putting a whooping on the Chicago Bulls. The Nuggets won that game 130-120 behind Dan Issel's 32 points and despite David Greenwood's 20 points for the Bulls. The Nuggets went from 36-30 to 37-30 on my actual birth day.
The Nuggets didn't play on my birthday in 1983 and they wouldn't played on March 19th again until the 1985-86 season (3/19/86). Again, the Nuggets won, 114-98, against the Detroit Pistons. Kelly Tripucka scored 23 points for the Pistons, but Alex English would dump 35 on Detroit for Denver. The Nuggets went from 41-28 to 42-28 en route to a 47-35 regular season finish. I was just 4-years-old and probably too busy drawing on the walls to watch a basketball game. It's too bad too ...
The Curse of March 19th was Born on 3/19/92 in Utah ...
The Nuggets started out 2-0 on March 19th during my life, but they have gone 0-8 since 1992 on the years they have played on my big day. There have been 21 seasons where Denver has not played on March 19th since 1982. Every season I check the schedule to see if this could be my year. Check out what has gone down on March 19th since Denver's 2-0 start back in 1982:
|March 19th||Nuggets Record||Lost to||Score||Denver high scorer||Opp high scorer|
|1991-92||24-58||at Jazz||115-110||Marcus Liberty 23 pts||Karl Malone 31 pts|
|1997-98||11-71||at Raptors||104-103||Johnny Newman 24||Dee Brown 24|
|1998-99||14-36||T-Wolves||105-101||Nick Van Exel 21||Kevin Garnett 28|
|Johnny Taylor 21|
|2002-03||17-65||at Clips||91-78||Juwan Howard 24||Wang Zhizhi 21|
|2003-04||43-39||at Pistons||94-75||Melo 20||Rasheed Wallace 20|
|Richard Hamilton 20|
|2007-08||50-32||at 76ers||115-113||Allen Iverson 32||Andre Miller 28|
|2010-11||50-32||at Heat||103-98||JR Smith 33||LeBron James 33|
|2011-12||38-28||Mavs||112-95||Arron Afflalo 24||Dirk Nowitzki 33|
Yes, 0-8 on my birthday since 1992 and only two of those games have been in Denver! I should have gone to Oklahoma City for the game tonight. I have never been to a game on my birthday - maybe that would help break the curse?
In addition to my 31st birthday, it is also Andre Miller's 37th birthday. We are birthday buddies, but I doubt that matters to him. Hopefully he will have an epic game?
Somehow, someway ... get a win Nuggets! If Denver does win - they'll set their new NBA record for most wins in a row. During the 1981-82 season the Nuggets won 12 games in a row from March 10th - April 2nd, 1982 en route to a 46-36 season. But the Nuggets all-time win record is 15 games in a row, which the Denver Rockets accomplished during the 1969-70 season from Dec. 20th, 1969 - Jan. 25th, 1970 en route to a 51-33 season (84 games?!?)
Let's see if the team can break The Curse of March 19th in Oklahoma City ...
TONIGHT - March Madness Stiffs Night Out!
Our ninth Stiffs Night Out is TONIGHT!
We will be distributing NCAA brackets for $10, with all of the proceeds going to the Denver Hooperz, a local non-profit that provide after school basketball programs to at-risk youth. Prizes - including tickets to the Spurs game on April 10th - will be given out to bracket winners. Also, the Colorado Sports Guys (Nate Timmons and Ross Martin) will be live podcasting throughout the event - and it's Nate's birthday!
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