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A Vision for all Denver Nuggets Fans

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With Denver being at the center of the political world this week, I was starting to feel a little left out hence the following post.

I come before you today to rally Nugget fans as one, to one common purpose for all to share in.

First of all, I want you to ask yourself one thing.  Is this team currently better off today than it was eight years ago?  Of course the Nuggets record was their best in 20 years, but are we as Nuggets fans all better off?  Even though some took solace in some of the so called accomplishments of last season we need to reach for a higher standard.  A standard we can all be proud of and take part in.

The driving force behind this team is not the Cadillac Escalades or body art, but those of us who read the newspapers, sports websites and blogs.  This team is held together by the third shift worker who comes home late at night, kisses his wife and daughter in their beds and watches the game he recorded with the sound down and yelling into a pillow with every made basket and defensive stop.  This team is held together by those of us who leave comments, Fanposts and Fanshots and fill the stands 11,000 strong on a cold and snowy January night when the Grizzlies are in town.  I am here today to say we need and deserve change.

We have seen 30 years of failure and I believe we deserve better.  This franchise has never tasted the fine Champaign of dominant victory.  They have never needed plastic tarps draped over their lockers to ensconce their belongings in a protective pod safe from the moisture of alcohol being fired from beneath a thumb firmly depressed upon an open container.  This is indeed a travesty of epic proportions and it has been too long for those of us who have shed tears of shame and despair at the hands of the Denver Nuggets over the long years of their NBA existence.

Today I proclaim we deserve a winner.  We deserve a team who will care about playing defense.  Who will give it their all to not only contain their man, but be prepared to stand in the breach to take up for his teammate, who although he also was giving his all, needs a hand.  We deserve a team who will dedicate themselves to a sound defensive strategy that will protect the rim while strangling the opponent’s offense in a vice of hopelessness.  This will take hard work and sacrifice, but by demanding more, we can all give more and make this vision come to fruition.

It is not only the players that must change, but also the leadership.  We deserve a coach who will hold the players accountable.  They must be held accountable not only on the practice floor where the eyes of the fans are not allowed to peer, but also on the game floor under the bright lights when everything is on the line.  We deserve a coach who will inspire the players to put frivolous partying and irresponsible behavior behind them in the name of team accomplishment and team success.  A coach who will not stand for unequal calls for equal fouls.

This stretches even beyond the players and coaches and on to our front office.  These men completely lack a track record of success or building a championship roster piece by piece and that is why we need to hold their feet to the fire and demand a team that is grounded on strong defensive principles, high quality shooting and hard work.  I am reminded of a four year collegiate player who spent many hours in the gymnasium.  He wears the scars on his knees and elbows that can only be caused by skin scraping violently against the hardwood as sweat quickly slides away leaving only the top layers of skin to be ripped from his body in the most vile fashion imaginable.  This is the type of player this team must make room for on their roster.

We cannot continue to make the same mistakes and continue this putrid history of this team and organization.  We must raise our hearts and minds to seek higher standards.  Instead of exhorting this team for finally winning 50 games we need to remember that what is important is not how many games you win out of the first 82, it is winning 16 more games after those 82 have been played.

Some fear looking back at the past, but in this instance the past is a clear indicator of what this team must become.  Championship teams dedicate themselves to playing defense, the players make their desires subservient to the needs of the team and they run efficient offenses designed to earn good shots on every possession where players are not needed or wanted to do it all themselves.

With all that being said, you will not find a winning team anywhere in this great league that is devoid of talent.  However, the talent on championship teams fits together seamlessly like a warm soft blanket woven by my dead grandma when she was alive.  I love Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson as much as anyone.  In fact, I was one of the first in line for a number 15 jersey at the Pepsi Center the very first day they became available.  Before that I made a young scrawny young man named Allen Iverson out of Georgetown University the number one overall pick in the rookie/free agent draft in my fantasy basketball keeper league and we enjoyed numerous victories together. 

I have the track record of supporting these players and that is why I have the experience to now proclaim that the era of mismatched talent has come to an end.  I see a future full of team players who can not only get their own shot, hit the open jumper and play effective team defense, but who can also, full of compassion and singular purpose, hand a sweaty teammate a towel to clear the seat from his eyes.

The changes must not only be with the team, but with those of us who support it.  We must educate the young fans how and when to cheer so that we are not just drones at the whim of the jumbotron playing a rehashed movie clip or fluttering graphic requesting noise so that the Nuggets once again can have a true home court advantage.  We must learn that we are only failing ourselves when we sit on our hands during a run by our opponent and the team needs a boost of energy that only a passionate home crowd can provide.  I dream of a day when we all stand and cheer when a player makes the extra pass or boxes out to prevent the opposition from getting a key offensive rebound.  Championships are won by these little things and we must all grow to appreciate them if we are to have a champion in Denver. 

The young fans are our future, but we must not neglect the older veterans of past conflicts who have experienced every losing season and playoff flameout.  These are the individuals in most need of hope and it is up to all of us together to provide it for them.

Some people out there may say that I am demanding the impossible.  They believe the Denver Nuggets will always just be an also ran and do not have what it takes to be a champion.  To that I say hogwash.  Regardless of the unfair criticism Stan Kronke has faced after the trade of a veteran player on his last legs I believe he is a good owner who is willing to do what it takes to field a championship team.  Other teams have seen important players shipped overseas and that is indeed unfortunate.  In Denver we have an owner who, even when wanting to cut costs, is willing to make sure a young player like J.R. Smith will be playing in Denver instead of Barcelona. 

Above all we must remember that the future is ours.  We have bought the tickets, purchased the merchandise and discussed all things Nuggets on message boards, comment boxes and game threads.  We have screamed our voices hoarse and banged our hands together until the pulsed in agony with every beat of our hearts.  We must never give up hope and never forget what we have suffered through.  We deserve the best and we must stand up and claim it.

We must have a NBA champion in Denver.

I know you believe it is far off.  I know you are afraid it will never happen.  I am here today to say that I believe one day that dream will be a reality and if we all do our part, I believe that day will be soon.

Thank you for your support for this team and thank you for the passion you have in your heart.  It is only through our love for this team and demand for a title that this formerly pathetic team can be lifted to new heights.  New heights we all deserve and should demand.

The NBA Champion Denver Nuggets.

Right now it is only a dream, but one day we can make it a reality together.