With the release of the new “Evolve” branding and jerseys on Wednesday night, the Denver Nuggets are officially moving into a new era as a franchise. Noticeably absent among the fanfare of new jerseys and logos: powder blue, the symbolic color that for years defined the Nuggets franchise as we know it today.
For many, the rebrand to new, bolder colors and the move away from anything powder blue has been long overdue. Though powder blue has been the focal point of the Nuggets branding since Carmelo Anthony arrived in 2003-04, the color itself isn’t one that necessarily intimidates opponents or is innately fashionable on merchandise. For the Nuggets to truly “evolve”, however, they would have to put any remaining ghosts from the Anthony/George Karl era to rest. The powder blue scheme is the last remaining emblem from that time.
But for younger fans who grew up in that era of Nuggets history, myself included, powder blue is all we’ve known. The uniform and brand refresh was much needed and represents the future of a team with plenty of potential. But it is still a bittersweet moment to officially say goodbye to the brand that has created so many Nuggets memories.
Some of the best and worst moments in Nuggets history took place in the powder blue. Carmelo Anthony’s rookie year when he averaged 21 ppg (more than LeBron’s 20.9). Melo getting snubbed for Rookie of the Year. Making the playoffs for the first time in nine years, then coming out of the cellar of the NBA to make the playoffs for 10 consecutive seasons. Only making it out of the first round once during that span.
The Nuggets-Knicks brawl at Madison Square Garden in 2006. Allen Iverson’s arrival just a few days later. Iverson dropping 51 points against the Lakers in 2007. Iverson (26.4 ppg) and Melo (25.7) respectively finishing third and fourth in the league in scoring in 2007-08. The Thuggets. Trading Iverson to Detroit for Chauncey Billups in 2008.
Watching Chauncey Billups turn Denver into a legit contender. Everything about the 2008-09 playoff run to the Western Conference Finals. Beating the Hornets by 58 points in Game 4 of the first round. Actually getting out of the first round. Melo hitting a game winning three in Game 3 against Dallas to put Denver up 3-0. Kenyon Martin and Mark Cuban feuding over who knows what.
Watching Melo and Kobe go at it in the Western Conference Finals. Thinking for a split second that the Nuggets might actually make it to the NBA Finals. Botched inbound plays. Anthony Carter. Knowing the Nuggets would have won a championship because Orlando made it to the Finals out of the East.
Melo sending Paul Millsap to an early tomb with a monster dunk on opening night in 2009. Thinking that the 2009-10 team was better than the 2008-09 team, and that for sure this would be Denver’s year. George Karl leaving the team to battle cancer. George Karl recovering from cancer and returning to the team for the 2010-11 season.
Carmelo Anthony trade drama. The Carmelo Anthony trade. Saying goodbye to Mr. Big Shot. Feeling out Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, then realizing the Nuggets won the trade by a mile.
57 wins in 2012-13. Gallo tearing his ACL, the Mole, and the end for Coach of the Year George Karl. Brian Shaw. Brian Shaw rapping game plans. One-two-three-six weeks!
Drafting Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic all in one draft. Bringing on Michael Malone. A new day with Emmanuel Mudiay. Adding Jamal Murray to the mix. Watching Jokic bud into a sensational passer and scorer. Jokic triple-doubles. Narrowly missing the playoffs for two seasons in a row. Knowing the Nuggets still have one of the best young cores in the NBA, and will be a force for years to come.
To the powder blue uniforms: thank you for the memories, and for sticking through the ups and downs of Nuggets basketball for all these years. You will be missed.
What was your favorite memory of the powder blue era?
This poll is closed
Western Conference Finals run in 2008-09
Allen Iverson’s 51 against the Lakers
Carmelo Anthony’s rookie year
57 win season in 2012-13
Other - will comment below