Dear Denver transplants,
This is an open letter and invitation to anyone who has moved to the mile high city over the last several years. The people who saw Denver as the perfect blend of growing urban development, open space, and a gateway to the wild west. The people who left behind the over-crowded highways of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the over-priced rent of New York and Boston, and the (apparently) overly grouchy spirit of Chicago and Philadelphia. (Seriously, I get so many transplants from Chicago telling me how awful everyone in their city is and how nice everyone is who's from Denver.)
This is for the people who moved to Colorado to be a part of the mile high experience. From ski slopes to 300 days of sunshine, from microbreweries to pot dispensaries. This is for the people who, like Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves, headed west until they found our beautiful city and said to themselves, "this is my post!"
You transplants have brought issues to the city, to be sure; housing has become much less affordable, for example. But you've also injected the city with some much needed culture and fun. You're a big part of the reason that this city has become the best place to live in America. You've embraced the city's laid back vibe yet still manage to be a weekend warrior. You've latched on to new hobbies like mountain biking, home-brewing, and rock climbing while also introducing the locals to things like Torchy's Tacos and Folk/R&B/Soul crossover albums. (I love Nathaniel Rateliff so much).
But there is one thing that most of you haven't quite embraced about this city: their sports teams.
I get it. It's hard to give up your fanhood and switch allegiances. Fans are born into the fanbase of their city when it comes to pro football. The same is true, generally speaking, of pro baseball, where most millennials remember their peepaw watching the Cubs or Red Sox on the family's first color tv.
But basketball is a bit different. The NBA is growing in popularity like no other major sport in the world. Some very smart people even think it will overtake the NFL in popularity over the next decade! The league is flooded with talent and storylines, there are more unique and interesting personalities from a wide range of backgrounds. And then there's the commissioner, Adam Silver, who isn't only the best in sports, he might be one of the best pro sports commissioners ever! Seriously, while league's like the NFL are protecting wife-beaters and covering up the damage of concussions, the NBA has been at the forefront of technology, social issues, and media.
But more importantly, it's also the perfect time to become a Nuggets fan. First off, no one will accuse you of being a bandwagon fan. The Nuggets finished with the 9th worst record last season and missed out on the playoffs for the 3rd straight year. They also finished dead last in attendance last season, often playing at home in front of a small, silent group of supporters.
Yet despite the poor record over the last few years, the Nuggets are one of the most interesting and promising young teams in the league. Like the city of Denver itself, the Nuggets are made up of a young and talented group of guys from all around the globe. From Bosnia, to Serbia, to Italy, to the Congo, to Indiana, and Ontario, Canada. This Nuggets roster is full of transplants who love and have embraced this beautiful city.
And if all of that isn't enough to persuade you, the Nuggets themselves are trying to woo you - yes YOU, Denver transplant - to hop on the bandwagon. Just this week, head coach Michael Malone had this to say about the city's newest members:
"I talk to our marketing people...15 to 17 thousand new people coming into the Denver area (per) month. Now, when they come here, those people were not raised as Denver Nuggets fans. So that's the challenge, is, how do we connect with these new people coming in? And, as we met and we talked...to me, our team is a microcosm of our city. We're a young growing team who's future is really bright. This city is not necessarily young but is growing so fast, from everywhere. And that's what were doing. So I like to use that analogy. Come grow with the Nuggets. You're here now, become a Nuggets fan. This city is a great place to live and we're going to be a great team to watch and support for many, many years."
You don't really feel a part of a city until you've cheered alongside a stadium full of fans. In that way, sporting events are a celebration of a city. As much as sports are often a rather pointless way to pass the time, they also bond people together. There's something that makes you truly feel at home when you're standing inside a stadium full of people from all walks of life wearing the same color and hoping for the same thing.
So join us, my fellow Coloradoans. You've put down roots here along the banks of the Platte, at the base of the foothills, and at the door to the wild west. Now join the Stiffs and the rest of the Nuggets faithful in cheering on our Nuggets. Inject the same fun and creativity into our fanbase that you've injected into our city.
There's never been a better time to live in Colorado. And there's never been a better time to become a Nuggets fan.