December 13th, 2010 was a weird night.

The Denver Nuggets has just finished blowing out the Orlando Magic at home to go to 15-9 on the season. Despite all odds and the circumstances which followed the team from the turgid offseason the Nuggets appeared to be … ok.

Those “odd” circumstances encompassed star Nuggets player Carmelo Anthony had refused to sign the extension the Nuggets offered and demanded a trade to the New York Knicks. No minor thing, of course.

Shortly after the game was finished, Channel 7 (TheDenverChannel) reported that Carmelo Anthony had been traded to the New Jersey Nets. In a moment that has been forever burned into my own memory, Carmelo was asked about it in the Nuggets locker room after the game. Check out Carmelo’s reaction (HT: CombatChuk):

The subsequent reactions from Nuggets fans, Nets fans and Knicks fans at the old Denver Stiffs was overwhelming and I couldn’t do much about it. My cohorts Andrew Feinstein, Nate Timmons and myself had a brief text exchange about it and I put up a thread just so people could discuss it since it was my night to monitor the site (this is before we decided to have moderators). The old Stiffs site saw more traffic that night than it probably ever experienced in its entire SB Nation history. The fighting in comments began and I recall having to delete the thread to stop the madness.

As we all know the rumor was false and Channel 7 was left with massive egg on their faces.

The Melodrama (as it came to be known) was a brutal and extremely scarring time for Nuggets fans. The timing — with the explosion of twitter and the rising popularity of sports blogs like Denver Stiffs — couldn’t have been worse for the psyche of fandom. The Nuggets made the decision to bring Melo into the season in order to play a game of cat and mouse with the Nets and Knicks to extract as much as possible from the Knicks. The side-effect was collateral damage in the relationship between Nuggets fans and their erstwhile star who wanted New York. It hasn’t been repaired since.


I never personally blamed Carmelo for the ‘act’ of the Melodrama. As I pointed out above that was largely the then-GM Masai Ujiri’s decision to get as much as possible in a trade, which was 100% the right thing to do. I get that. My complaints about Melo post-trade was always his rather dismissive attitude about what the fans were put through following his trade request. It was business to Melo and he had quickly moved past his nearly 8 years in Denver, faster than Nuggets fans were ever allowed to. When Melo complained that he was still being booed 10 years after the trade in 2021 you could tell that he still didn’t understand why they would boo him.

Melo didn’t understand because Melo never considered that he personally played any role in his negative perception in Denver.

It was clear at that moment Carmelo never took the time to process what had happened and why he is regarded the way he is. Never thought about it. Never took time to consider that maybe forcing his way out of Denver to go to the Knicks might have really ticked off the city. Melo wasn’t the first to ever force his way out of the team that drafted him (cough … Kareem Abdul-Jabar in 1975 … cough) but he was the first to do so in the Twitter era. More people had access to social media and he wasn’t able to slip under the radar. Melo’s quasi rejection of Denver was there for all to see and it was utterly humiliating for Nuggets fans.

I’ve said this in other forums but covering the Nuggets during the Carmelo Anthony saga was exhausting. You had to put up with Knicks and Nets fans daily invading the site to argue and troll Nuggets fans. You also had to deal with constant trade posts and tweets from YahooSports! Adrian Wojnarowski (who hadn’t yet formed a relationship with the Nuggets and seemed like he was a daily lifeline to the Nets). Nate, Andy and myself probably worked harder in that era than we did in the next five seasons in the post-trade era and the Brian Shaw years. Count me among those who was pissed off and exhausted off by the end of it.


After several years I was able to take stock of the Melodrama and think about things as objectively as possible. As I said in an article on Mile High Sports in 2018 the circumstances leading up to Melo’s departure from the Nuggets are far more complicated than was ever made public in 2011. A collision of circumstances formed to get us where we were and I was more able to process the nuance in 2018 than I was so fresh after the trade. That’s not to absolve Carmelo of his obliviousness to why Nuggets fans would be upset, but it does give greater context to the situation.

All that above being said, I’ve grown increasingly weary of the the Nuggets fans remaining super-angst toward Melo. It has been 13 years since Melo requested a trade. As someone who is so old at this point that he judges personal events in his life based on continental drift, let me assure you 13 years is still a very long time. For the life of me I can’t think of why a grudge could be carried THIS long and it’s time to let it go.

Former Nuggets coach George Karl tweeted about the Nuggets honoring Melo with a dual #15 with Nikola Jokic retirement in a tweet a few days ago. Setting aside the feasibility of something like that happening I do believe the healing of the relationship between the Nuggets/Melo/Denver needs to happen. If only for the sake of someone as important in franchise history as Melo not being binned because of a choice made nearly a generation ago.

Let me provide all the evidence needed to let the healing with Melo begin.

From 1990-2003 the Denver Nuggets had one solitary winning season which was the miracle Nuggets of 1994. That is it. The Nuggets were certifiably one of the worst organizations in professional sports and by the late 1990’s it wasn’t entirely certain that the team would remain in Denver. I am not kidding you. The Nuggets were seriously in danger of relocation and it was only due to erstwhile owners Ascent Entertainment Group refusing to sell to someone that wouldn’t keep the team in Denver for the duration of the Pepsi Center land-lease that the Nuggets weren’t given the Seattle Supersonics treatment.

It was 20 years ago Carmelo Anthony’s talent and fame he brought with him from Syracuse stabilized this organization in a way it hadn’t seen since the days of Alex English in the 80’s. People downplay the role Melo played in righting this team’s ship, and certainly Melo had help (Andre Miller, Marcus Camby, Nene) but make no mistake, Melo’s “star” was greater than anything the Nuggets had experienced since the 1980’s or maybe since David Thompson in the 70’s. Melo’s importance to reigniting the flame of interest in Denver and subsequently nationally cannot be underplayed.

The Nuggets and we as fans need to reconnect with Carmelo Anthony to heal the relationship. This has NOTHING TO DO WITH NIKOLA JOKIC! Nor does my column have anything to do with the number 15 jersey. Jokic is the better player and the best this franchise has ever seen. This is about the importance of Carmelo in Nuggets history and not allowing this wound to fester to the point of no return. Who cares if Melo hasn’t been to a single Nuggets game since he retired? As if that should be used as a prerequisite. Come on folks. We are twisting ourselves into knots to do anything but try. Start small … make the outreach. Let Melo know his time in Denver was appreciated and hopefully Melo will let the fans of Denver know that he still cares about them.

It starts simple and small and hopefully it will grown. We can’t let a 13 year old wound destroy a giant part of Nuggets history. It’s unfair to the history of this organization. It’s time folks. Let the healing begin.

(Hello everyone. Yes … I’m back)