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The Denver Nuggets, the NBA, and things that I am thankful for

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NBA: Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets
Foul, fowl, or interpretive dance? Giving thanks that you get to decide.
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

So, imagine... It’s 1:30 in the morning, and your work day ended a long time ago. Like a long, LONG time ago. Easily 20 to 30 minutes ago. But you’ve cleared the work table today to set the home table tomorrow. You’re feeling pretty good as your head hits the pillow, and so start to drift off, immediately. Until that damned little voice in the back of your head says rather loudly, “It’s Thursday, and you didn’t write anything.”

I’m awake. Oops. Happy Thanksgiving, all. And I do want to give thanks, especially during a stretch of time I have found it tough to do so, and frequently do not find myself alone in that sentiment. Hell, a few of us may be struggling to give thanks after a 30-point whupping from the Houston Rockets last night.

Sometimes you find yourself in a place where it’s not so easy to give thanks. Maybe you’re a long way from your loved ones, or your job is a tough one. Maybe the world seems a bitter and divided place, or maybe you just have a tough time finding meaning in it all. Heck, maybe none of those things are true, and you have thanks literally oozing from your orifices. I don’t know you. My thankometer is expensive and for my own private use. Wherever you find yourself on that spectrum, here’s a few thanks on my mind, mostly around topics that usually bring us all together.

I’m thankful that I have a job in a time when many people are still wanting.

I’m thankful for a beautiful family who loves me because of, and spite of, who I am.

I’m thankful I live in a place that allows us all to have our voices heard, and am grateful for the light that capability is shining into so many dark places.

I’m thankful for a resilient and cohesive Denver Nuggets team. There are moments that are beautiful, there are moments that are awful. But this group of guys likes playing together, stands up for one another, and takes the blame when they are at fault. Time will tell if their talent matures to the degree it needs to, but the chemistry looks great from afar, and that’s a rare thing.

I’m thankful for Kenneth Faried, who has stayed ready, focused, and positive in the face of yet another roller coaster season and his place in it. Faried has been a true pro, and has been a huge catalyst for the team this year.

I’m thankful for Emmanuel Mudiay, who isn’t watching the roller coaster ride like all of the rest of us are, he’s on it. In the face of that, Mudiay projects a calm and positivity I have never mastered in several more trips around the sun.

I’m thankful for Nikola Jokic, who wants this chemistry on his team, and who was the catalyst of the chemistry long before he was a starter. He is nothing but genuine, which portends well for his leadership down the road.

I’m thankful for Paul Millsap. I’m thankful for his wrist. I had to write that 500 times on the blackboard after his injury was announced, and I yelled an F-bomb so loud and long that birds in Argentina took wing on the final “K!”. Beyond that, I’m thankful for Millsap’s attitude on the floor. Good things were happening for the team as they were gelling there, and I’m excited for his return.

I’m thankful for Gary Harris. I simply admire the dedication and work ethic of Harris, and would be a hell of a lot more successful if I were half as strong in either category. Harris may be the most consistent asset the Nuggets have on either end of the floor, and is as calm as they come when things get tough.

I’m thankful for Jamal Murray, who continues to amaze as he figures it out in real time. Murray’s competitive fire is the match for anyone on the floor, and he often sparks the emotions of the team with his play.

I’m thankful for Wilson Chandler, who didn’t get his head down when the season started a bit slowly, and continued to press forward. Chandler had an interesting role to play in season’s start, as he’d long been a super-sub sixth or seventh man. With his place shined to starter amongst a refigured team, Chandler was often the fifth option on the floor, and played his part as he is always wont to do. Through a million role changes, Chandler has always stepped up to do his best in the part.

I’m thankful for Will Barton, who could have simply been the fire starter of the Denver bench for his career, but has continued to press himself into being a more able defender and sharer.

I’m thankful for the rest of the bench, the front office, the coaching staff, and operations crews. The product they put on the floor is the reason I get to truly say...

I’m thankful for you. This silly game played by this silly team on this silly rock hurtling through space brings us together every now and again to huddle against the wind, even if that wind is emanating from a 30-point stink bomb in Houston. I’m thankful for this community, for the ridiculously gifted group of writers I get to share these pages with, and for these Denver Nuggets. I only hope that this list has inspired you to think of a few things you are thankful for too, as there may not be a warmer feeling than thinking of the things in this world that bring us that sense of gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving, Nuggets Nation.