Welcome to the refreshed Denver Stiffs! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to do the same, head over to the FanPosts (www.denverstiffs.com/fanposts) to begin. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card contest rules*. We’re collecting all of the stories here https://www.sbnation.com/why-we-are-fans and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

I've been a basketball fan as long as I can remember. My first memories of the game were made watching Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics with my dad when I was little. Maybe the quality time with dad is what captured my heart, or maybe the game itself was just that intoxicating, but ever since I've been an avid basketball enthusiast.

Being a native of Colorado, I have always been a supporter of the Denver Nuggets albeit growing up in the home of a die hard Boston Celtics fan. However, it wasn’t until just a few years ago that the Nuggets truly captured my attention and propelled me into where I am today writing for the Denver Stiffs.

Back in December of 2012, the company I work for decided to purchase season tickets with the Nuggets. Given that I was the marketing rep for our region, I was tasked with taking clients to each game for valuable relationship building. At first, it felt like a major commitment coming all the way from Colorado Springs to catch the games. But, over time I started to really enjoy the experience and began to notice that all the Nuggets could do is win no matter what. (You may be familiar with the song that plays post game when the Nuggets win at Pepsi Center.)

After a while, I began tuning into Altitude TV to watch the road games and following the team’s progress as they made their way through the season. By the time April came around, I knew all the players names and couldn’t wait to attend the next home game. As we all know, the Nuggets went on to lose to the Golden State Warriors, who we now know as the “superteam”, in the first round of the playoffs while my favorite player, Danilo Gallinari, was sidelined with a season ending injury. I had never experienced heartbreak over a sports team before, but that’s how I knew I had been bit.

Apart from the winning record, there were several things about that season that won me over. First, the Nuggets were finally in the post-Carmelo Anthony era and there was a true team atmosphere that resonated in the Pepsi Center. Attending home games was an electrifying experience that reminded me of my high school days supporting my local team. As a fan, I felt like my attendance and support was important to the team’s ability to win, and the crowd was always hyped.

I also loved the fact that there wasn’t really a superstar on the team, and I loved watching the players selflessly work together to get the win. Their fast paced style made for fun games, and to this day I believe the Nuggets had the makings of the small-ball, run and gun offense that the Warriors have become known for. If I can be totally biased, I also think the Nuggets would’ve taken the Warriors in that series if Gallinari had been healthy to play. I’m happy to see the organization continue with this ball-sharing, fast-paced atmosphere while fostering the emergence of our their own superstars like Nikola Jokic.

After the 2012-2013 season, the Nuggets faced some seriously dark times, and I'll admit it was hard to hang on as a fan. There was a marked change in atmosphere at the Pepsi Center for the worse, and sitting through loss after blowout loss was painful. However, I'm glad I persevered because in a weird way I feel like I'm part of the team as the organization is beginning to see some of their hard work pay off.

I’ve long been a fan of the San Antonio Spurs‘ type of model that keeps a long term focus on players and coaches without turning over major personnel every year. Over the last couple of seasons, I’ve been impressed with the recruiting and trade decisions that General Manager Tim Connelly has made. It’s evident that there is a big picture focus and a long term approach to making the Nuggets a relevant franchise in the NBA once again.

I've said this many times in my previous articles, but building something great doesn't happen overnight, and it's evident that the Nuggets organization is working hard to put in a solid foundation for a successful future.

I'm a fan because I can get on board with the hard work and the long term focus that will provide for stable success vs trying to get the quick fix by buying a superstar or two. I'm a fan because the Nuggets are building a team of players who share the ball with one another vs relying on one or two guys to get the job done while everyone else stands around. Lastly, I'm a fan because I love the state of Colorado. (Cue cheesy inspirational music.) Even now I'm sitting outside with a local brew waiting for the Air Force Academy Thunderbirds show to begin with beautiful Pikes Peak in the background. But seriously, I want nothing more than to see the Nuggets succeed, and I think the wait is nearly over.

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