It's been 592 days since the last time I attended a Nuggets game. A lot has happened since then, as we are all aware. I hope everyone is doing okay and it feels great to be back watching our team and the league MVP.
Before we were all forced to take a long sabbatical from everywhere except our own houses, I decided I would do a little write-up after each home game I went to and share my observations. Not necessarily of the game itself (there are plenty of writers on Denver Stiffs and elsewhere who can tell you how our boys performed), but more so the experience of being at the game.
And since I renewed my season tickets for a fourth year, I didn't see any reason why I shouldn't pick up where I left off. Isn't that what we're all hoping to do as we navigate our Covid filled society? Join me as I fill y'all in on the sights from section 374, row 11, seats 16 and 17.
Alright then, here we go:
- I'm pretty sure it was still called the Pepsi Center the last time I stepped through those doors. I will miss affectionately referring to it as "The Can." Is it possible that the nickname can carry over based on what Ball does as a company? Maybe "Ballerina" can take it's place? Or "The Ball Sack?" Any ideas?
- Speaking of stepping through the doors, tickets are completely digital now (as they are at most venues) and they just let you scan your phone before going through a turnstile, which was new here. I wonder how much longer it will be before Skynet takes over.
- Ball Arena is all about recyclable bottles now, per it's sponsor. Even water comes in the aluminum format now. Looks like some new restaurants were added as well, including a Smash Burger. Maybe the times where I wind up paying stadium prices for dinner won't be quite so painful (but they are still exorbitantly overpriced).
- It could just be me, but the nosebleed seats seem more narrow than before and the cupholders are woefully unstable. My wife and I spilled two of our drinks and I saw multiple people around us do the same. And we were completely sober!
- The opening night tradition of introducing the entire team and staff continued this year, with the biggest pops going to Jokic (shocker), Murray and MPJ. Bones Hyland got to be the hype man on the mic, a role that seemed to come naturally to him. Given Malone's propensity for playing vets over rookies, that's probably the most time he's going to get on the court for awhile.
- From my seats, you can see the suite above the upper bowl on the other side of the arena, the one with the giant tv. It's the first time I've seen the Altitude broadcast without streaming it in a really long time. That continues to be a ridiculously stupid situation with no end in sight.
- Attendance was somewhat sparse at tipoff, but more fans piled in as the game went on. Some even arrived at halftime. Many seemed confused about where to go and how to find their seats. I would say this is a result of people being quarantined, but all of that was fairly typical pre-Covid.
- Kudos to Nazem Kadri for appearing on the jumbotron to offer his support for the Nuggets. Maybe that was part of his penance for being an idiot and getting suspended in the playoffs. Von Miller and a few of the Broncos gave shoutouts of their own. I'm sure they'd rather be focused on literally any other team than theirs right now.
- Speaking of that jumbotron, it remains one of the best parts of the live experience, especially when your view is obstructed (which is a common occurrence for folks sitting on the aisle). That's just my preference, so you take the good with the bad.
- Christian Stoinev from America's Got Talent took the opening shot and performed at halftime with his dog, Percy. I'm fairly certain they've had him at halftime before, and if it was a different dude with an entertaining act with a talented dog, that would be one hell of a coincidence.
- I'm glad to see the Hometown Hero segment is still a thing. The cup shuffle on the tron is back too, but that was way harder than I remember it being.
- The hometown crowd showered Jokic with MVP chants every time he did something Jokic-like, which was often as he casually posted his usual double-double. The Joker is already in midseason form, as is my boy, Rocky. He drained his half-court shot on the second attempt.
- One thing I definitely did not miss about live sporting events are all the drunk morons who have little consideration for anyone around them. This group of bros to our left were particularly obnoxious, and I don't think anyone was sad when they dipped out early. I also saw a gal in a Sonic the Hedgehog costume slip and fall on the stairs, and though she was okay, I doubt she'll be collecting any rings or completing any levels tonight.
- My wife likes to keep track of how many outfit changes the Nuggets dancers have during a game. I believe tonight they were at two.
- As for the game, the Nuggets looked sloppy but still took down a resilient Spurs team when shots weren't falling for them. That's mostly thanks to the MVP. Seven points from MPJ, on the other hand, just isn't going to cut it most nights while Jamal is out.
And that does it for game one. I won't be there Monday against the Cavs, but I'll be back next Friday. I look forward to the Nuggets taking down the Mavericks and the national media talking about how well Luka played in a close defeat. NuggLife, am I right?
Enjoy your week, everyone!