Newman_small_mediumHere’s a sampling of some of the emails that have found their way into my email box lately and my (tardy) responses to them…

How could you not write about David Thompson being Michael Jordan's presenter at the Hall of Fame?  I can't believe you didn't post on that one!

-Dillon W. in Denver, CO

It was inexcusable for me to not to write about that!  The Denver Post's Dave Krieger wrote a nice piece on it, however, and if memory serves I linked out to it at the time.  I'm currently reading Bill Simmons' The Book of Basketball and Simmons goes on and on about how great The Skywalker was in his ABA/NBA heyday, noting that Thompson could have been MJ had he laid off the cocaine and behaved like a true professional.  As a Nuggets fan, reading those passages just makes you cringe knowing that we had a championship caliber team that never came to be thanks to Thompson's drug habit (not a rare case in those days of the NBA, unfortunately).

On a side note, the whole Basketball Hall of Fame presenter thing is total horse shit.  The "presenter" is nothing short of an escort who walks up the stairs with the inductee and then is forced to stand awkwardly throughout the inductee's entire speech (and in the case of MJ's speech, awkward is an understatement…Thompson may have been the only person MJ didn't insult during his now infamous diatribe).  Presenters should get at least five minutes to, you know, present!  Just further proof of why the Basketball Hall of Fame is the worst of the three major sports Hall of Fames.

I was just reading something online about how the Dallas Cowboys’ owner is upset that Cowboy’s merchandise accounts for 33% of the sales in this area – but he has to split this up with the other teams to even things up. Is this something the NBA could do? It would be good for a smaller market team like us if we could get a piece of the Lakers’ merchandise money. On the other hand, though – that money may be a large incentive for an owner to spend a little extra on his team to win a championship.

-Danny G. in Lafayette, CO

It’s my understanding – from good sources whom I’ve asked about this – that all NBA merchandise sales are evenly distributed among the 30 teams. Even if the Nuggets sell a Carmelo Anthony jersey at Pepsi Center, those jersey sale receipts go into a giant pool that everyone shares. Where large market franchises like the Lakers and Knicks have a HUGE advantage over small market franchises like the Nuggets is in three areas: local TV rights, sponsorship and ticket/luxury suite sales. (It makes practical sense if you think about it; imagine what the Lakers can charge for a TV package in a Southern California plus Las Vegas plus Hawaii market well north of 16 million people whereas Colorado’s entire population is south of five million.)

And thus, the NBA instituted the luxury tax so that large market teams could spend, spend, spend if they want, but must contribute some of that spending to their smaller market brethren. The problem is that small market teams like the Nuggets, Jazz and others have had to exceed that tax line just to be competitive, and are losing millions upon millions of dollars as a result. This is why a lockout is looming to change the system.

You are a whiner.  (In reference to my column on the Lakers having an absurdly easy schedule to begin the season).

-Chris M. in Los Angeles

I took a lot of shit from Lakers fans for my column calling out the mockery that is the Lakers 2009-10 schedule, which included 17 of their first 21 games to be played in the friendly confines of the Staples Center.  But I feel like one of my central arguments – that an excessive amount of back-to-back games can be detrimental to an overall season – was vindicated when the Lakers got waxed in Denver a few weeks ago because they had to play a, guess what, back-to-back!

I thought I'd pass along a link to a feature story I did with Kenyon Martin for SLAM online titled "Don't Hate Kenyon Martin" in hopes you could help spread the word on a shameless plug.  I know you guys are the one-stop-shop for everything Nuggets newsworthy, so figured your readers might enjoy the Martin story.

-Wendell M.

Shameless plug accepted!  It's a good read, too!

I'm a big fan of your site. I read all the posts. What do you think of this idea for a lineup? Starters: Petro (C), Nene (PF), Melo (SF), Afflalo (SG) and Billups (PG).  Second Unit: Birdman (C), K-Mart (PF), Graham/Balkman (SF), Earl (SG) and Lawson (PG).  That looks like a strong second unit!  Can we let the blog readers debate?  Let Nene dominate. He could really punish the PFs but wastes a lot of energy being physical to centers bigger than him. K-Mart makes the second unit stronger. Putting Birdman at center is not a concern because Birdman is not an offensive weapon. And K-Mart would have to help out on defense.  Looking forward to your take.

-Eric B. 

I've long argued that by moving Nene to the four-spot (PF), he would dominate and the Nuggets would be better for it.  But I'm not convinced – and clearly neither is the Nuggets coaching staff – that Petro would be anything short of a liability at the five (C).  At 12-4, it's hard to make an argument that the Nuggets need to change things up.  But I'll be interested to see what their record is when they start accumulating more games against real teams.

Ciao Andrew from Italy.  I hope to find you well.  I read with a lot of pleasure your interview with coach Karl. You can not be a journalist, but for real you made a great work more than a lot of journalists. Really pleased to read that! Can't wait to read next articles. Ciao.

-Marco in Italy

I received a lot of complimentary emails about my visit with Nuggets head coach George Karl, but this one definitely came from the furthest location!

Hey man, love the site and love the nuggets up here in the PNW. But I have been searching high and low for a clip of that 1980’s Denver Nuggets “So Exciting” song and can’t find a thing. Does anybody know if it exists out there on the interwebs as of now? Or if somebody has a copy and can digitize it. It would be awesome. You could even post it on the blog and we could have a huge “favorite Nuggets memories thread”.

-Jeremy K. in the Pacific Northwest

The song in question – I believe – is this one, sent to me during the playoffs last season by Denver Stiffs reader “justingeorge.” And yes, we need to kick off a “favorite Nuggets memories thread.” I have so many, I wouldn’t know where to start. Off the top of my head, one of my favorite Nuggets memories has to be sitting at McNichols Arena to watch the Nuggets beat the Supersonics in Game 3 of the 1994 playoffs. If you remember, the Nuggets had gotten their asses kicked in Seattle in Games 1 and 2, and had basically no hope of winning the series entering Game 3. Then, as if they had suddenly grown up overnight, the young Nuggets startled the Sonics with a 110-93 victory, led by 31 points from Reggie Williams (who also had eight assists…that had to be a career high for RW), an amazing 19-point, 13-rebound, six-blocks (!) game from Dikembe Mutombo and out-of-nowhere big time games off the bench from Rodney Rogers and Robert Pack. Damn, I miss that Nuggets team!

Hey Andrew, I am a huge fan of the Nuggets and your blog. I saw that the Birdman is having a lot of trouble with knee tendonitis. I am both a basketball and squash player and used to be in so much pain I couldn't walk after a game. Instead of taking pain meds, I put these straps on my knees and I never felt anymore pain in that area. It is because the pressure applied by the band stabilizes the tendon so it doesn't slide around the knee as much and causes less pain to the individual. I am just a first year med student and I don't doubt the abilities of Dr. Traina at all. That being said, I think this is just a little thing that may help a lot. The reason I am sending you this e-mail is because you have a bigger voice with the Nuggets organization and they probably will listen to you as opposed to me. Here is a link to the patella strap. Thanks for taking the time to read the message. 

-Balaji S.

I appreciate you thinking that I have a big voice with the Nuggets organization, but they won't even grant me or Nate credentials yet!  Shows you how much "juice" I have.  That said, I'll pass this along to the right people and thanks for thinking of how to help the Birdman, who is clearly having a down season.

In regards to "Three Days with George," I'm jealous of the access you had. I once saw Artis Gilmore naked in a locker room after a pre-season game, and have never returned. Great job reporting on the Nuggs…you do a better job then the Post. I wish you guys would take on the Post's coverage of the Nuggs, or the lack thereof.

-Chip E. in Denver

Thanks for the kind words, Chip!  I agree that the Post could do a better job with their Nuggets coverage, but I know the guys who cover the Nuggets and can tell you for certain that they're earnest, work hard and love what they do.  That said, I think the problem is that they still write for print limitations rather than online.  A good example of this was their recap of the Knicks game on Friday night.  I didn't see the print edition, but the online edition recap was so brief that it provided no information other than what we saw from the stands or on TV.  Unfortunately, until Nate and I do this full time (unlikely in the near future I'm afraid), we depend on the Post's coverage to glean additional insight into the team.  I can only hang out with George Karl every so often (insert wink here).  

Oh, and if I saw Artis Gilmore naked in the locker room I'd probably never go back either.

Why haven’t you written anything about Allen Iverson‘s retirement? You used to be a big A.I. guy, right?!

-Marcus N. in Philadelphia

Because I don't believe that A.I. has actually retired yet, but is desperately trying to land a gig with another team on his terms, I'm holding off on his career obituary which I'm dying to write.  As I wrote in the latest Stiff List, Iverson is behaving like a girl who breaks up with her boyfriend who's not giving her the love she wants hoping he'll come crawling back to her with an engagement ring. 

And yes, I still like A.I. the player, but not A.I. the Nugget player.  The evidence in the post-A.I. Era clearly proves that he was a bad fit for the Nuggets and unless handled properly, remains petulant and unprofessional to boot.  Don't get me wrong, though, I'm hoping and praying he plays again…and in Philadelphia (as now rumored) would be priceless!