This week I was asked to be a guest on a podcast where the host is working his way through a series on why someone should be a fan of each team in the league. He lives in Ohio right now and he told me that since LeBron James’ departure from Cleveland, he was a “free agent” fan and that gave him the idea. I was honored by the opportunity to make a case for the Denver Nuggets fan base.
After all, we are the best aren’t we?
Heading into the recording, I was already really excited about the upcoming Nuggets season, but spending 30 minutes selling our team to prospective fans helped me get a good perspective looking from the outside in. Given that Denver Stiffs is the main source for all things Denver Nuggets, I wanted to reiterate my thoughts on the good guys in the event that there are other free agent fans looking for a place to call home.
So, what makes being a fan of the Nuggets so incredibly cool?
Cheering for the underdog
I don’ t know about you, but I just love to root for the underdog in almost any situation. Most people can relate to a good Cinderella story, and the Nuggets are a team on the brink of getting their invitation to the royal ball. With the exception of Paul Millsap, and Isaiah Thomas, the Nuggets are really a team of players who aren’t very well-known in the league. Nikola Jokic is arguably the Nuggets best player, and he’s made quite a name for himself as of late, but his fame in Denver doesn’t yet qualify him for super-stardom in the league.
The Nuggets also don’t get a lot of respect on television, and I think it’s partly because lot of people don’t think the city of Denver is all that exciting. I know, they’re crazy! I’ve actually met a lot of people who think we spend most of the winter under piles of snow. (Which I’m okay with if it slows down the number of people who are flocking here from all over the US.)
The process of overcoming the odds, and proving the naysayers wrong is something we all can relate to on some level. Watching an underdog team succeed is such an inspiring thing to witness, and it’s made even sweeter if you’re one of the supporters who helped get them there.
Being a fan before the band-wagoners join in
When the Nuggets lost to the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs in 2013, it was clear that Golden State was going places. I remember sitting in the stands getting so annoyed every time I heard the phrase “basket, Curry” ring out over the PA system. Losing Danilo Gallinari to a torn ACL just a few weeks prior was heart-wrenching, and it was made worse by the 6th seed Warriors beating our third seed Nuggets 4-2 thus foreshadowing their NBA reign.
I believe the Nuggets are almost at the place the Warriors were in 2013. ESPN’s Michael Adams agrees. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to see them secure the 6th seed in the West, and if they can dial in their defense they have as good a chance as any to win in the first round of the playoffs.
The moral of the story is that’s it’s much more fun when your team wins if you’ve been riding the band-wagon with them along their tough journey. Instead of just hearing about and appreciating their story, you actually get to take part in it. You can look back on the times when the wheels fell off, and you helped put them back on. In a small way, that journey now belongs to you too.
A new group of friends
Later in the episode, the host of the podcast told me that Nuggets fans have a reputation around the league for being really nice. (Twitter feuds aside I’m assuming. You know who you are.) I laughed when he told me this, but when I think about it, Coloradoans in general have that rep.
Perhaps it’s the 300 days of sunshine we get each year that puts some pep in our step. Or maybe it’s the abundance local craft beer available at nearly every corner. For me, it’s the amazing views of the Rocky mountains that are so beautiful in every season that make me love where I live. Everyone who lives in Colorado has a different reason for loving it, and regardless of what keeps them smiling, I’m proud to be from a state that is known for being friendly. So if you’re looking to make some new friends, associating with Nuggets fans is a good place to start.
Whether you consider yourself a free-agent fan, or maybe just looking for a #2 to cheer on when your team isn’t playing, the Nuggets are a welcome place you can come to enjoy the game of basketball. We’ll save a seat for you!