“This is a Denver Nuggets family”, I said it to a friend just not long ago. It was an answer to a question we hear so often “Who cares about the Nuggets?” look, there’s no refuting that Denver, Colorado as a whole and large swathes of the plains area is Broncos Country and that’s just fine. I’m a Broncos fan as well, but I come short of calling them my favorite professional sports team because that team resides at the Pepsi Center (and no it’s not the Colorado Avalanche who are currently performing like...checks Avs schedule...good god). My wife is a transplant from Texas but go to a Dallas Mavericks vs Nuggets game and you better believe that’s a Danilo Gallinari, not Dirk Nowitzki, jersey that she’s wearing. My oldest daughter unsolicited will tell me the Nuggets are her favorite, and I truly believe there is no place she prefers to go than the Pepsi Center. My youngest daughter, all of six months old, obviously hasn’t formed any opinions, but she’s been to several games already in her short life and she’s captivated by it, that much as clear.
The family doesn’t stop there though. Somewhat justifiably the Nuggets fans have come under a lot of heat lately. I say justifiably because the numbers are what they are, speaking strictly in terms of the number of people who actually attend games, the Nuggets have the worst fans in the association right now and they’ve heard about it. They’ve heard about it from the die hard fans, they’ve heard about it from the media, they’ve even heard about it from Denver’s very own players. In fact, even yours truly is not innocent of keeping the fans from his ire. For someone who has obsessively followed this team for almost a quarter century I get frustrated when I see a half empty lifeless arena as much as the next die hard. However, somewhere in that arena are all the die-hards like me, and collectively we represent a family.
The fact that we have to defend our fandom on a regular basis from fellow citizens of our own cities likely has something to do with that, but take enough time to listen to any die hard fan of this team and you’ll recognize that we’re not going to just give it up. It’s in our blood. It is in mine at least. I remember having a conversation with an associate who adamantly argued that football was better. It was easy to understand, this associate was from Texas where football is king. Football is in HIS blood. He took the time to ask that question “why the Nuggets?” though and it was easy to explain. While I personally am a native of Colorado, my parents were transplants like him. Only they didn’t come from Texas, they came from Indiana, just outside of Chicago, where basketball is king. Given that, and the fact that 6 year old boys tend to latch on to whatever big is going on at the time and when I was six this guy named Michael Jordan was winning his first ring with the Chicago Bulls.
I’m not alone either. When I was a commenter and not a writer for this site I had far less faith in there being a family of Nuggets fans. That’s not to say that the commenters aren’t part of this family, because they are, each one as big of a die hard as I am. Unfortunately though there is that inevitable cold and callous feeling that comes with conversing with a computer screen as opposed to an actual person, and that jaded me. However, since writing for the site I have met countless people in person, whether it be at Stiffs Night Out, at the actual game, or just in passing when the site gets brought up, who espouse their love for the Nuggets just as I have. The fact of the matter is Nuggets fandom is real.
We’re not going to fill up a stadium that seats 70,000. There’s just no doing that in any NBA market, but what we can do is fill up an arena that seats 17,000. The fact that we’re small market doesn’t matter, just look at how packed the arena of tonight’s opponent, the Utah Jazz, gets on a regular basis. The fact that the Broncos are king doesn’t matter, the Mavericks, who likewise play in a city dominated by one football team, consistently have high attendance numbers. In fact the only valid reason I see that the arena has been empty is the team just hasn’t been very good and tickets are overpriced. Well, the team is on the rise, they have a star player and a young core to build around, and the ticket prices? Well, you can find a way to get them affordable. It might not be in the form of the ticket price, it might come in the form of a food voucher or an event like the Hops and Hoops shindig the team threw on Saturday. Point being, if you’re willing to look, the deals are out there.
And we NEED you to look! This family of Nuggets fans is real, I believe that with all my heart and it showed on Saturday when the crowd, though not a full house, was still enthusiastic and raucous. It showed so much that Coach Malone and Kenneth Faried, one of the most outspoken players about the Nuggets fandom, went out of their way to compliment the crowd. I believe they will have many more nights to praise the crowd. Because for every person who only want to watch football, there is a person like me, football fan, but Nuggets fanatic and I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one like that, nor am I the only one who’s spread that fanaticism to the people closest to him. So let’s get out loud and proud tonight Nuggets family, it’s time for this city to know our voices will be heard.