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A farewell to The Manimal

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My heart will go on.

I saw this tweet pop up on my phone yesterday just before going to bed. To my surprise I was filled with mixed emotions, and I had to stop and take in the magnitude of what just took place.

It needed to happen.

We’ve been saying for some time now that the Nuggets’ bench was far too crowded at the forward position, and that they needed to offload weight anywhere they possibly could. I’ve even penned, and said over the radio and podcast airways that they needed to find a place to send Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur, and that holding onto them was a tremendous liability in the long term.

It finally happened.

The Nuggets actually pulled the trigger. To be honest I’m shocked. I thought maybe they were keeping Faried around as a sort of mascot given the fans’ obsession with “The Manimal”, and perhaps the city was holding onto him emotionally because he is the last remaining cornerstone of the 2012-2013 Nuggets team that was so incredibly special.

I’m sad it happened.

While I don’t disagree that the Nuggets had to move Faried, I must admit that the news hit me a little harder than I expected it to this week. I’ve been a fan of the Nuggets for a very long time, but I truly fell head-over-heels in love with this team in 2012 watching Ty Lawson drive to the rim, Danilo Gallinari sink his threes, and Faried slam the ball into the basket with his notorious ferocity.

I will never forget the energy in the Pepsi Center every time The Manimal came up with a rebound out of nowhere, and the times when his teammates set him up for an epic Alley-Oop—his famous braids adding emphasis to the slam.

I have the best memories of being excited to make my way to the arena to watch Faried night in and night out, and I enjoyed each celebratory moment with a different friend, client or family member. That particular winter season held some of the best times for me, and I associate many of those experiences with enjoying dozens of basketball games with those that I love.

So, although I am SO excited about where the Nuggets are headed, and I am VERY proud of the progress and moves they’ve made this off-season, this week marks a bitter sweet end of an era for me.

I hope to make many more great memories watching the Nuggets make the playoffs next season, and I can’t wait to see how things develop. However, I will sorely miss the great times we had with Faried.

No one can replace The Manimal. I wish him all the best in Brooklyn.