Before our Nuggets play some real basketball, we fondly look back at the past and present the third induction class into the Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame. We also proudly announce the winners of Denver Stiffs T-shirts for participating in the 2010 voting process...
Thanks to you, the great readers of this site, the Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame is filling up with some legendary Stiffs! Next year is going to be even better when nominees from 2008 - such as Blair Rasmussen, Tim Kempton, Kevin Brooks and Mo Martin - are re-eligible for induction. I can't wait. But until then, here are the results from the 2010 vote...
Mark Pope (80 votes) and Raef LaFrentz (72)
Others receiving votes: Reggie Evans (56), Cadillac Williams (36), Jerome Lane (32), Popeye Jones (24)
Write-ins: Donyell Harvey (8), Linas Kleiza (2), Marcus Liberty (2)
Analysis: In the forward category for the third consecutive year, there was clearly a premium on being "terminally white" as Pope and LaFrentz join the likes of Bill Hanzlik, Ryan Bowen, Joe Wolf and Nikoloz Tskitishvili in the Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame. Many readers were divided on LaFrentz's inclusion as a nominee in the first place, noting that he had a solid rookie season and a decent career in Denver compared to his fellow nominees. But considering LaFrentz made $84 million as an NBA player and was drafted ahead of Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce, he makes a fine addition to the hall.
Priest Lauderdale (64)
Others receiving votes: Mengke Bateer (56), Joe Barry Carroll (20)
Write-Ins: Keon Clark (6)
Analysis: Lauderdale and Bateer were neck-and-neck in the voting, with Lauderdale barely edging out the "Great Wall" member by a mere eight votes. Lauderdale will enter the Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame having played in just 39 games in a Nuggets jersey, but those 39 games will now be forever remembered by Nuggets fans worldwide. It was surprising to see Keon Clark receive six write-in votes. Yes, he had a number of off-the-court problems but I always felt that Clark was productive as a Nugget and never liked the trade for an aging Kevin Willis in 2001. Speaking of Willis, I'm feeling an HOF nominee for 2011. Maybe we should create a category for "formerly good/great NBA players whose careers died in Denver" like Willis, Alvin Robertson, Ricky Pierce, Mark Jackson, Dale Ellis, Kenny Smith, Tim Hardaway, etc.
DerMarr Johnson (76) and Darnell Mee (60)
Others receiving votes: Yakhouba Diawara (56), Brooks Thompson (36), Jim Farmer (24), Willie White (16)
Write-ins: Anthony Carter (8), Cory Alexander (2), Glen Gondrezick (1)
Analysis: I wasn't surprised to see Johnson get the lion's share of guard votes given that he was such a recent Stiff in Nuggets history. I was, however, surprised to see another recent Stiff - Diawara - out-voted by Mee, a Stiff-worthy former Nugget whose 40-game Denver career ended over 15 years ago. Also, after reading the following anecdote from Denver Stiffs reader "CommishCH" I was disappointed that Thompson didn't get more votes. For those who missed his tale in the comments section of the nominee column, here it is:
I worked at McNichols in the mid-late 90s and after a few months I got a plum job of sitting courtside at Nuggets games. My only job was to make sure no one got loose on the court, and since the games were sparsely attended that was fairly easy.
One particular game I was at the corner across from the Nuggets bench. Again, late in the game, and again not many people there. Courtside at about the FT line was a man and his 5 year old daughter, having a good time regardless of the fact the Nugs were getting blown out, quality father-daughter time.
Brooks Thompson was guarding someone in garbage time and the other dude just blew by him and was promptly fouled. The dad, in only a slightly raised voice, said something to the effect of "C’mon Thompson, hustle!" Thompson was all the way at the 3pt line and heard the dad. Ol Brooksy launched into the loudest, most profane tirade at the dad in all the years I worked down there. "F*ck you, you get your a** out here and play, F this, F that, you piece of sh*t this" at the guy…sitting with his 5 year old daughter.
As a security guy I half wanted to go out on the court and eject Brooks. Class guy.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Bernie Bickerstaff (104)
Others receiving votes: Dan Issel (24), Paul Westhead (20)
Write-ins: Kiki Vandeweghe (2)
Analysis: Bickerstaff, the odds-on favorite to win the inaugural Denver Stiffs Lifetime Achievement Award, dominated this category by leaps and bounds. In fact, so many Denver Stiffs readers suggested that the award be re-named as "The Bernie Bickerstaff Lifetime Achievement Award" that the award for 2011 and beyond will be re-named in Bickerstaff's honor. A number of readers were conflicted on Issel who, despite being clearly deserving of this award for his tenure as team president and second tenure as head coach, remains a Nugget legend as a player and head coach the first time around.
And there you have it. Please join me in welcoming the esteemed 2010 induction class into the Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame. Here's how the Hall is shaping up so far...
Tony Battie (inducted 2008)
Ryan Bowen (2009)
Bill Hanzlik (2009)
Raef LaFrentz (2010)
Mark Pope (2010)
Nikoloz Tskitishvili (2008)
Joe Wolf (2008)
Scott Hastings (2008)
Priest Lauderdale (2010)
Danny Schayes (2009)
Tariq Abdul-Wahad (2008)
Junior Harrington (2009)
Julius Hodge (2009)
DerMarr Johnson (2010)
Mark Macon (2008)
Darnell Mee (2010)
BERNIE BICKERSTAFF LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Bernie Bickerstaff (2010)
And now to our 2010 prize winners. There are now six different Denver Stiffs T-shirt designs available to choose from plus Denver Stiffs hats! In addition, the T-shirt price has been reduced to only $12.99. So if your member name isn't mentioned below, hopefully you'll order a Denver Stiffs T-shirt anyway...
The 2010 Denver Stiffs HOF winners are readers skithebert, airforcetoo and Melo'sPersonofSeattle. Each of you guys will be contacted so you can pick out which T-shirt you want. Congratulations!
Many thanks to all the readers for making the 2010 Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame another memorable induction class. And be sure to SAVE THE DATE for November 6th when we have our second Denver Stiffs event at the new downtown Denver bar/restaurant Jake's Food & Spirits.
As always......GO NUGGETS!!