"He's a Denver Nugget. He knows what Josh Kroenke wants. He knows the expectations here, for a championship. He bleeds Nuggets blue."
- No One
Isn't that a great quote? Wouldn't you love to know which member of the Denver Nuggets organization this quote was about?
Well, there's the problem. As you may have surmised in the attribution, it's not. It's a combination of quotes from John Elway's press conference about the hiring of Gary Kubiak. I just took a slight liberty, and teams, owners, and colors are all swapped to make a point. OK, more than slight.
As a Colorado sports fan, I was excited about the moves made by my favorite football team. As an even bigger Nuggets fan, I was left to wonder who amongst the current and former Nuggets organizations I might describe as "bleeding Nuggets blue". Sticking with players, coaches and front office, the immediate list was still a short one... I'm betting I missed more than a few, but hoping this might illustrate a point with a quickly made list:
- Dan Issel
- Alex English
- Doug Moe
- Bobby Jones
- Kiki Vandeweghe
- Bill Hanzlik
- LaPhonso Ellis
- Chauncey Billups (I believe this. Don't burst my bubble.)
- Bison Dele
Just seeing if you were still paying attention. Let's qualify by saying this list is one guy's opinion, and there are even a few names on that list one could argue. Most of them were just guys I loved whose best years were with the organization, whether they were stars or not. Then the picture gets even murkier, that there were others along the way: Carmelo Anthony, George Karl, and many more who starred here in good times. But few of those players or staff were more loyal to the Denver Nuggets than any other organization. Colorado was not their desired long term home.
When Mr. Kubiak got off that plane, he was quoted rather immediately as "coming home". Kubiak didn't make Denver his home until he was drafted here at age 22. Only Billups is a Colorado native on that list above, and there hasn't been another Colorado native whose star has shone as brightly since. Hanzlik chose Colorado as a long term home as well.
So, let's try to be fair, and make sure we know what we're talking about, or looking for, as "bleeds Nuggets blue" actually turns out to be not so much a thing. Here's why:
Though the phrase "bleeds Nuggets blue" makes a lot of sense when I hear it out loud, when I searched that word grouping exactly, I got exactly... nothing. Well, nothing of consequence. In the first two pages, one entry (at the top of page two) is talking about a culture of the Nuggets and loyalty to the team (it's another Nuggets blog).
Huh. That seems odd. Almost as if no one has used a semi-common sports phrase about the Denver Nuggets. When I search "bleeds Broncos orange", it's 293,000 results that kick off with fan pages, team news, and league reports. OK, maybe the Nuggets haven't always been "blue". Though they mostly have. I'm in search marketing. I can find what I'm looking for... right?
I'm looking for more recent stuff around team culture anyway, maybe the newer fans like the gold, right? How about "bleeds Nuggets gold"? Er, no...
Bleeds Nuggets Yellow? Nope. That only gets you one Denver Nuggets result, and that for a video game, prior to a link entitled "What Your Poo Says About You". By U.S. News, no less. Eesh.
Well, crap. No, literally. So, let's get literal. How about DENVER NUGGETS CULTURE? Gotta get me somewhere, right? Not in the first two pages. Things about events for the team, apparel sales, and a pot article, but nothing around a culture of winning, or teamwork, or... hmmm...
Super literal. Denver Nuggets Winning Culture. Now we're getting somewhere... ish. Between that and Denver Nuggets Championship, we find... well, mostly Tim Connelly quotes about the culture he's inheriting on the former, and Arron Afflalo quotes about this season on the latter. That's a small percentage of the full complement of staff I included above.
Jeff Morton's excellent column yesterday pointed out a pattern of poor communication between current Nuggets' head coach Brian Shaw and his players. I'd even venture it may be a lack of clearly stated goals from higher levels. To be fair, if I search "Denver Nuggets championship Josh Kroenke", I finally found the very head of the organization discussing this as a goal, and that still in the lower half of the first page, mostly around the firing of George Karl.
I'll admit, there are about 50 more searches I could do to be very thorough. But my broad match phrasing got me... very broad results for my team, few of which were around the topic I was trying to land. A Denver Nuggets team talking about wanting to win a championship. Those same types of searches got me very specific results for many other teams, as in the Broncos example above. So, here's a question (or two)...
If those words are not a part of more of the Denver Nuggets' recorded conversation amongst each other and the general public, then how much a part of their conversation are they at all? And even though they're currently quite obviously a ways off from that hoped-for goal, if they're not even talking about it, how do they ever expect to achieve it?
A Guy Who Bleeds Nuggets Blue