Ladies and Gentlemen, there is no other player in Nuggets history ... outside of Joe Wolf ... who epitomizes "Stiff" as much as one man. This man has become a legend in my mind as well as his own. The Nuggets' ultimate cult classic player...
There's really only two choices in this column and they are obvious. For long time Nuggets fans Joe Wolf and Scott Hastings represent a bit of Nuggets history that is intrinsic to what Doug Moe used to call Stiffs. I chose Scott Hastings because I didn't want to steal Nate Timmons' favorite Nugget Joe Wolf (Nate says his buddy Hunter can, "Do the exact Joe Wolf run!"). I will leave any expose of Mr. Wolf to Nate. It's only right.
Scott came to the Denver Nuggets in 1991. I remember that because I watched the Detroit Pistons vs Portland Trail Blazers Finals in 1990, and followed the Bad Boys team closely. I don't remember seeing Hastings on the court that often. In fact, my initial thought at the time of the signing (in my 13 year old logic) was "good, maybe this team will get some goon in them". Yes everyone ... such were the thoughts about Paul Westhead's Denver Nuggets. They needed a goon.
And a goon Hastings was ... wait ... is goon not the right word? Thug? Enforcer? Ehhh ... goon works. That's not a bad term by the way. From his last days at a member of the Atlanta Hawks, to his time with the (then) brand new Miami Heat and Pistons, Hastings carved himself out quite a niche as someone who was willing to come off the bench and do the dirty work that a team needs. Be it with a sharp elbow or an aggressive bump out of bounds. Hastings also has the dubiously fantastic distinction of being the record holder for the number of straight games without a steal! Our own Scott Hastings in the record book.
Truth be told, the Nuggets' version of Scott Hastings was wasted on the horribly coached Paul Westhead system, and by the time Dan Issel took over in 1992 Hastings played in more games and was more effective. I thought that Issel used Hastings more effectively in the goon role than Westhead ever could. Scott managed to appear in 36 more games that season on a still bad, but not as bad Denver Nuggets team that featured the core of what would come in the next season. Dikembe Mutombo, Laphonso Ellis, Bryant Stith and Mahmoud Abdul Rauf (nee Chris Jackson).
Hastings left basketball at the end of the 1992-93 season. Pretty much immediately he stepped into the broadcast booth with Jerry Schemmel on the radio broadcast side for the magical 1993-94 Nuggets season (where they upset George Karl's Seattle Supersonics in the first round). The next season he moved to the TV side with Drew Goodman and was doing color commentary when this happened:
Rodney Rogers scores 9 points in 9 seconds/ Denver Nuggets Comeback (via Jarekkowalewski)
The great part about Hastings call of this moment was how appropriate it was for what happened. Yes, the Nuggets went on to lose that game on a Jeff Hornacek layup, but Hastings color commentary coupled with Rodney Rogers hitting those shots was absolutely perfect for the time. In a surprise, two years later, Hastings voice was heard during Denver Broncos radio broadcasts with Dave Logan. Hastings was the color analyst for the Broncos from 1997-2004 as well as co-hosting Logan's drive time show on 85 KOA (as it was then known).
Since 2005 Hastings has been again broadcasting Nuggets games, and quite frankly he is legendary. From constantly complaining about officiating to giving advice on how to deliver a blow to an opponent. Great stuff. Yet, the BEST part about our own Mr. Hastings is that he has remained in the Denver area since 1991 and has made his home here. Scott has remained committed to the Denver area and has become, at least in my mind, even more legendary for his broadcast work than his playing days (which were legendary in their Stiffitude).
Tonight, safely, tip your glass of whatever you are drinking to our own Scott Hastings. While he spent more time with the Hawks, he is ours. I, for one, am proud to call Hastings, a 6'11" man on a mission, a part of Denver forever.