I quit. 

No, not Denver Stiffs, or being a Denver Nuggets fan. Not my marriage, nor being a dad. I decided a few weeks back, on draft day of all days, that I’d had enough at my current job. I may have been a little spontaneous in my decision-making, but the moment had been building to a head for months. It’s always funny how the smallest thing can finally be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Life is filled with moments that color our impression of the things that surround us. Our family and friends, our work and personal life, and those hobbies and passions that make us “us” in the simplest of ways. Because each of those moments hits each of us uniquely, we often diverge from those around us on what things we keep in our lives, and what we move along from.

For instance, I’ll be watching more Los Angeles Clippers games this year. I’m not becoming more of a Clippers fan (I’m guessing), but I’ll be keeping an eye on Danilo Gallinari’s play after his move to L.A. I guess I’ve not moved on from Gallo just yet. Though Gallo has decidedly moved on from me, as he decided to depart Nuggets Nation. Fortunately, he’d been such a well-regarded part of the team as to receive a flood of well-wishes from the Denver faithful. Here’s a great farewell from April:

Strangely, the same was not true of Carmelo Anthony when he departed the Nuggets for the New York Knicks. I started watching more Knicks games, to be sure, but primarily to see Denver native Chauncey Billups play more basketball. Mr. Big Shot was a sore point for me in the trade, and I wanted to support a smart and amazing Colorado kid who had finally gotten the Nuggets further down the playoff road. Billups had a pretty sweet farewell not long before he left Denver as well…

I’m not alone in that split-decision making, as I’ve spoken with several friends who grew up with other basketball heroes. I remember a number of friends from Chicago who cut their teeth on the Michael Jordan Bulls. The number of them that closely followed the Michael Jordan Wizards is a nearly-even split. I checked in with one of them today who’d said he never watched a Wizards game with MJ, and just caught up in the SportsCenter highlights. A different gent bought a Wizards jersey and made multiple trips to the D.C. area to catch a game. He wasn’t ready to move on just yet.

The same can be true for teams. I grew up an L.A. Lakers fan, having glommed onto basketball a couple of years into my first stay in LaLa, and Magic Johnson was the perfect introduction to basketball for a young kid. I moved back to Denver a few years later, but didn’t start splitting my loyalties to the Nuggets until Dikembe Mutombo, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, and LaPhonso Ellis gave me no choice in the matter in the early ‘90’s.

Not long after, I moved on from being a Lakers fan when the “super team” of Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton got together. I was never a fan of stacking a deck, and the Shaq/Kobe feud had given this non-confrontational kid a headache. It was much more fun pulling for the hometown Nuggets at that point and I’ve never looked back.

But I could never leave the Nuggets as a fan, could I? My head and heart say it’s an impossibility, and that in my forties I’m now too set in my ways to make a change. Beyond that, I love the current core group of players and coaches that look to make up the team’s near-term future. Today, I’m a huge Nuggets fan, and have been for nearly 25 years. Tomorrow? Well…

Tomorrow is always uncertain. Any relationship in your life, whether personal or professional, will suffer from highs and lows along the way. Sometimes those lows are so frequent or extreme as to make you wonder why you’ve kept that relationship in the first place. If these were still the Brian Shaw Nuggets, this article might have taken a very different tack. Maybe.  

Is it fickle to give up on following a player or team, or to follow a player to their next stop? What determines what keeps you watching the Denver Nuggets, and what might make you decide to stop following the team, or to follow more closely? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what keeps you here, Nuggets Nation, and what could ever make you go away. 

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