July 16, 1978 is an insignificant date in almost all Denver history. I was born in Boulder during a Rolling Stones concert at Folsom Field. Was almost born at the side of the road due to the heavy traffic (and anyone who has been to Boulder during a CU Buffs game at Folsom knows all about the traffic issues going up the turnpike). That's about as exciting as the year 1978 got from what I saw. The song Shadow Dancing by Andy Gibb was the Number 1 song in the country and the Stones had just released Some Girls.
The Denver Nuggets fell 4-2 to the Seattle Supersonics in the Western Conference Finals earlier that year. That team represented what was the Nuggets best chance at a championship with (arguably) their best team. It was an end of an era, as the 1978-79 season would see the Nuggets trade heart and soul of the team, Bobby Jones, to the Philadelphia 76ers for George McGinnis who's best years lay in the wreckage of the now-defunct ABA with the Indiana Pacers.
David Thompson, one could argue, is the Nuggets only true superstar in their history. Transcendent. One in a million. He played along side Dan Issel who was well a truly a "star" and Jones who was the beating heart of those Nuggets teams coached by Larry Brown. That Nuggets team had the fabled/magic "three" formula that has been tried and true in the NBA. One superstar, one star, one beating heart. I will go over in greater detail what happened with that Nuggets team later this offseason. For now ... we are just marking time.
It's hard for those who grew up in the Carmelo Anthony era of the Nuggets to believe, I'm sure, but the Nuggets and the Denver Broncos were the only games in town from 1967 to 1993. For the first 15 years of my life the Nuggets and Broncos got all of my attention as a sports viewing resident of Denver. In the 1980's, the Nuggets and Broncos were ... fun. John Elway and Alex English. One a superstar in the NFL, one a very quiet star who avoided the spotlight. Both were the pinnacle of Denver sports. English, to this day, remains my favorite Nuggets player ... despite the fact that he didn't have an engaging personality and was known for being a bit sensitive to criticism. He was still the smooth one with the sweetest shot in NBA history.
So odd to think, really, that Denver wasn't a four major sports town. The Colorado Rockies came in 1993 and the Avalanche were brought to Denver by Ascent in 1995 and the rest, as they say, is history. Denver has grown from what people regarded as a dusty old cow town (in the words of Woody Paige) to something significantly more.
I believe, in my heart, that the Nuggets WILL win a championship in my lifetime. Yes, it's hard to hope for some good fortune, but everyone needs it. Eventually the gods of luck with look favorably upon the Nuggets and reward the team with that elusive transcendent player we haven't had since David Thompson. Thompson made everyone around him better, and to a man everyone who played with him would agree. Not sure we could say that about Melo, as much as we enjoyed his time here in Denver.
I have hope, and that's really all you need. It takes one step at a time and I believe the Nuggets WILL reach that mountain top. One day, it will happen.