For the first time in decades, my Thanksgiving is solo. Well almost, anyway, as my wife and I will be spending a day together, but without our usual big-dinner-with-several-others plan. I'm not suddenly allergic to people, I just wanted a day to reflect. To spend more time thinking about all I am thankful for instead of thinking about whether or not I bleached the counter well enough after I first handled all the turkey parts. To reflect on the people that shaped (and joyfully warped) me instead of whether or not the potatoes will stay warm long enough for me to get the stuffing and green beans on the table. To think about things that bring me joy, like your Denver Nuggets and Denver Stiffs. More than a few things to be thankful for...
I'm thankful for Wilson Chandler's passion for this town and this team, and though he's spending his Thanksgiving recovering from surgery, a few of his close friends showed up to help him out with the meals he'd promised to deliver to Warren Village in Jameer Nelson, Emmanuel Mudiay, Media Relations Director Tim Gelt and more of the Nuggets organization. A great group of guys giving back to folks in need this Thanksgiving.
Emmanuel and Jameer are running point today, but for Thanksgiving: they're handing out meals at Warren Village! pic.twitter.com/BC28F0pHok— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) November 21, 2015
I'm thankful for the steady voice and commitment of Michael Malone. His consistency with this team, both in good and bad times, will pay great long-term dividends for the Nuggets. I'm thankful Malone is not a Highway Patrolman, as he'd almost turned out to be. I'm also thankful for the number of Michael Malones in this world who do protect and serve as highway patrolmen - something you learn about when you foolishly try to search for that story.
Thanks for the mostly-hot hand of Danilo Gallinari, who has taken on the scoring load in good times and bad this early season. Gallo came out of a torrid summer with his national team, and has been the team's most reliable source of points thus far.
Thanks as well for the re-emergence of Kenneth Faried and the Manimal alike. Hoping Faried's recent back and ankle ailments are well rested soon, and that he can keep this inspiration through 82 games.
I'm thankful for the resilience of youth. This squad is very young, with rookies Mudiay and Nikola Jokic starting alongside second-year contender for most-improved player in Gary Harris. The world is still all potential for those three, and they have each shown flashes of special things. Achieving that potential will be one of the great storylines of this season and (hopefully) the next several. The youth movement keeps going, with Jusuf Nurkic and Joffrey Lauvergne about to return from injury for their second seasons. Even current spark plug Will Barton is only starting his fourth year. Young blood abounds in Denver.
I'm actually thankful for all of the team, even those who are struggling, in that each of them is behaving like a pro, riding out the highs and lows of getting all of their ducks in a row. The steadying influence of the veteran voices of Nelson, Mike Miller, and even the currently-struggling Randy Foye do coach Malone the favor of sticking together in the messages coming through to the malleable youth. The choices made in who was in the youngsters ears was no small accident, and I'm glad for it.
I'm grateful for the Nuggets organization, who I suppose I could be kissing up to, but from a thousand miles away, it serves me little... and still I tell you that every person I've met in the organization has been kind, patient, and giving of their time. What a gift that has been.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to cover a team that I love, sometimes with my tongue poking entirely through my cheek, and for the friendships that has forged with the Stiffs community, writers and commenters alike. I'm thankful for the sanity that comes from this insanity. If you are a Denver Nuggets fan, you are already a rare bird in this universe, and rare birds are a part of the reason I'm not cooking turkey today. Feasting on a few moments of gratitude instead.
No gravy, no stuffing, no taters, maybe some two-day-old leftovers when it gets dire. Giving thanks all day instead, because honestly, there is plenty to fret upon in this world if you go looking, or even if you don't. Taking a day to count my many blessings suddenly seems like one of the sanest things I've ever heard. I'm thankful for you, Nuggets Nation. For the diverse, opinionated, passionate collective you are, even when smaller in number. What are you thankful for today, Nuggets-related or not? Happy Thanksgiving!