What happened to the song
we once knew so well?
Signed promise, for moments
caught within the spell.
I must have waited all my life for this….

Yes – The Revealing Science of God

It’s very interesting to see the (very) slow awakening of something within Denver Nuggets fans as they begin to recognize that their second year center Nikola Jokic may be something … special.

Their game against the Milwaukee Bucks was a sellout, and that is fairly remarkable when you think about it. The Bucks, for all the hype that Greek freak recieves, aren’t exactly a draw and had come in losers of 9 of their last 10 games. It’s not exactly like the Los Angeles Lakers coming to town with their hordes of fans.

It was a sellout.

Remarkable really. By the end an intrepid fellow dressed in green began a “Lets Go Nuggets” chant, similar to one that so energized the Nuggets players when they played the Los Angeles Clippers a few weeks ago that they were gushing about the fans in the locker room afterword. Anyone who tells you that fan support and noise doesn’t matter needs to take a look inside the Nuggets locker room when the fans actually come out and make NOISE.

All that aside, the reason these fans are (slowly) returning to Pepsi Center. This is largely because of the emergence of Jokic (as well as the Nuggets beginning to win games at home again). If you ask the casual Nuggets fan, you will begin to see that "recognition" of Jokic. You know what I’m talking about. Normally people in Denver can only name Broncos players, however Jokic is beginning to enter into the consciousness of your "average" fan. You know, the majority of Denver.

Beyond name recognition and crowd size, it’s become abundantly clear that the "way" Jokic plays has contributed to the popularity of the Nuggets AND why people have been reluctant to latch on. While Jokic has a tremendous personality and his teammates clearly love him … he has this Columbo element to him. For those that never saw the TV Series starring Peter Falk … he starred as Columbo, as frumpy, cigar smoking, brown trench coat wearing, personable, affable detective who would solve cases primarily because people underestimated him.

Jokic is the Columbo of the NBA. Teams underestimate him. They look at him, with his ultra casual persona and unathletic body, and think "eh … he aint all that" and then POW! He lays a triple double on them. While this has worked to Jokic’s advantage, it has contributed to the slowness of people to rally around him. He is popular but not POPULAR. In a league that is rife with big personalities, Jokic doesn’t immediately fit the role.

He’s the Joker … but people still don’t know what to make of him. He needs to keep solving cases no one else can crack while vanquishing famous “Guest Stars” such as Giannis and Kristaps Porzingis (cough cough). He will. All this means is while players such as Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Lebron James dominate the conversation … Jokic is the slow burn. We love him, but understand why the city may think “Who’s this dude?”

There’s a revealing science to Jokic as well as a bit of poetry. The Nuggets are starting to establish that Jokic’s unusual and unique skill set will set them apart … however, maybe it’s the development and emergence of Jamal Murray that may actually be the true key to the Nuggets future success. A player who can make shots, take over games and doesn’t necessarily need the ball in his hands to be effective 100% of the time.

All we know is it’s nice to see a direction emerging. Some exciting young players. Good time to be a Nuggets fan in Denver.