From time-to-time people will ask me what it's like being a credentialed blogger covering the Denver Nuggets. You have to have patience and you have to be willing to wait. I once waited after practice for about an hour and a half to talk with a player. You wait for practice to break, you wait for the coach to come over, you wait for players to finish shooting or working out, you wait and you wait and you wait some more. One thing that makes the waiting bearable is the people that you are waiting with.
My first season covering the Nuggets as a credentialed blogger, I was the first of my kind. Shadowing a couple Denver Post writers in college, I sort of knew the ropes and the Do's and Don'ts of reporters. I was definitely a bit nervous on my first few trips to Pepsi Center to cover the team. Thankfully, the reporters in Denver couldn't have been more welcoming. Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post is one of the most social people on the planet and is always one of the first people to introduce himself to any new faces. Christopher "Don't call me Chris" Dempsey made himself available for any questions, conversations, and let me tag along with him in Oakland during my first visit to Oracle Arena (the place is a maze!). Blake Olson is the go to guy during downtime to regale with stories from his days as a quarterback, his time in Dallas covering teams in the heat, and much more. You can always get great hoops and life talk with many other folks at Pepsi from Chris Marlowe, to Matt Moore of CBS Sports.com, to Pat Graham of the Associated Press.
And then you had Aaron Lopez. He's not an old man by any stretch, but he is old school. From his biography with the Nuggets:
After 15 years as a Denver sports writer, Aaron Lopez brought his journalistic talents to the Nuggets at the start of the 2009-10 season.
Lopez is the primary writer for Nuggets.com, providing behind-the-scenes content, including stories and video for the site. With firsthand knowledge of what beat writers need on a daily basis, he also assists the media relations staff in working with local and national reporters covering the team.
Before joining the Nuggets, Lopez spent seven years as a Nuggets beat writer for the Rocky Mountain News. He also covered the Colorado Avalanche and wrote in-depth feature articles for the newspaper until it closed in February 2009.
Lopez began his professional career with the Associated Press in 1994, covering anything and everything in the Denver area, including the Nuggets, Avalanche, Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies and three major universities, Air Force, Colorado and Colorado State.
During my first season, I could tell that Lopez and Hochman had spent a lot of time around each other. The two would swap stories and jokes during down time, but once it was time to work, Lopez was all business. A-Lo and a couple other reporters had a talent that I was envious of, they could record coaches and players while also jotting down quotes using their own shorthand. It was fun to watch A-Lo furiously write, listen, and ask questions, true multi-tasking. Lopez was also responsible for video content on Nuggets.com. Players knew where A-Lo was after practices when they have shooting competitions because he had a camera in hand. Half court shots, trick shots, and thunderous dunks were always on display and brought to the public from Lopez.
During the Nuggets' awesome 57 win season, I received an opportunity from Wizards.com to make a preview video for the game in Denver that ran on their website. A few days before the game, the opportunity was almost lost. The Wizards writing crew wasn't going to be able to make the game and I was on my own to find a camera. I reached out to Lopez and he not only lent me his camera, but he acted as my cameraman and helped me upload the video to the Wizards crew. I'll never forget that.
It's going to be weird being at Pepsi Center and not having Aaron around. I wish him well on his new endeavors, but the Nuggets will definitely miss Lopez, he is one of the good guys.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Good Luck to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AaronLopez?src=hash">#AaronLopez</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/denvernuggets">@denvernuggets</a> Leaving 4 a new opportunity. Great job keeping fans up to date on their team! <a href="http://t.co/eziUcgs8nM">pic.twitter.com/eziUcgs8nM</a></p>— Blake Olson (@BlakeOlson1) <a href="https://twitter.com/BlakeOlson1/status/512312628241498112">September 17, 2014</a></blockquote>
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