Back in 2004 as an undergrad at Metropolitan State College of Denver I was in a rush to get to my favorite computer lab to partake in what would be my very first fantasy football draft. Nerd alert! One of my friends had set a "league" up and I did not really know what fantasy football was. About the only thing I did know - I was a Denver Broncos fan who felt dirty selecting players from other teams to root for, for my own purposes.
That first season I drafted New York Jets running back Curtis Martin to my squad with one of my last selections. How can I remember that? I don't really know other than to say that I am full of useless information. Martin repaid my selection by rushing for 1,697 yards and 12 touchdowns that season and he led my team to my first - and last (for now) - championship. What did I win that first season? Pride. And well, some shame too.
How could I betray my Broncos loyalty by rooting for guys like Martin and Randy Moss? They were both on my team that year, but luckily for me ... the Jets didn't play the Broncos that season. But the damage was done and every Sunday and one Monday (Nov. 1, 2004) I was digging my one-team loyalty's grave ... deeper-and-deeper.
Did I quit after winning the "championship" in 2004? I could have. My league was one-and-done and I had no place to take my talents. The truth was, I was hooked. So when my buddy Rory asked me to join a league he was forming, I was in. The league was composed of nine of my close friends from my fraternity at Colorado State University and it seemed like a great way to keep in touch. And it also seemed like a great way to keep piling up titles.
We have kept in touch through our fantasy league since 2005, but the titles haven't exactly worked out. The name Daunte Culpepper will always haunt me. In 2004 he threw for 4,717 yards, 39 touchdowns, and only 11 interceptions - the next season, when I drafted him with my first pick, he played in only seven games and put up an abysmal 1,564 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. The good times didn't roll and I almost made a colossal mistake.
The same jokers I played fantasy football with brought up the idea of continuing on our nerdness by playing fantasy hoops. So, for the 2005-06 season I played my lone season of fantasy basketball. I built a team around Steve Nash and his 18.8 points and 10.5 assists, Yao Ming and his 22.3 points and 10.2 rebounds, Marcus Camby and his 12.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks, and David West and his breakout season of 17.1 points and 7.4 rebounds.
I had fun playing fantasy hoops and I made it to the championship "game", but I lost. I would like to say that my hoops loyalties drove me away from the game, but it was more a result of my friend Mike cheating the system. I lost to him in the Finals, but his adding and dropping players on a nightly basis did me in. I was out and I will never go back.
While my NFL fantasy nerdom is in full swing with three leagues this season, I won't be partaking in another NBA fantasy world any time soon - probably. Playing in NFL fantasy leagues keeps me involved with all the moves and games in the league, I don't need that to watch NBA games. For me, the NBA is perfect the way it is and I don't need a gimmick to keep me watching.
If you can believe it, we are only about a month away from training camp starting and the first NBA preseason game will take place on Oct. 5th.
I'll be watching.
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