By Court Zierk @courtzierk on July 27, 2014
The Denver Nuggets have had a long, and eventful history in both the ABA and NBA. Although they are still trying to capture their first championship in franchise history, they have had plenty of memorable moments that have captivated their fanbase. Here are the 10 most memorable.
In 1996, the Chicago Bulls were king, and they had the most successful seasons in NBA history, only losing 10 times that year. One of those losses came at the hands of the Denver Nuggets at McNichols Arena. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf turned in one of the most memorable performances in team history that evening, torching Michael Jordan for 32 points. That night, not even the greatest player in history could slow him down.
Again against the Bulls, another all-time great Nuggets player turned in a historic performance. Fat Lever scored 31 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, dished out 20 assists, and came up with six steals. To this day, that ranks as one of the best performances in NBA history.
In 2006, Allen Iverson was still a major star in the NBA. Although he was on the down side of his career, he was still good for 25 points a night, something most players could only dream of. The excitement was palpable in Denver at the thought of pairing Iverson with Carmelo Anthony. The combination never really panned out though, and he was shipped out of town two years later. At the time, it was one of the biggest events in team history.
Half way into the 1978-79 season, the Nuggets made a trade that would end up being one of the biggest robberies in NBA history when they sent George McGinnis to Indiana in return for Alex English. McGinnis, a previously solid player, would never be the same and slowly phased out of the league, while English became the greatest player in team history. If only the current regime could figure out a way to pull off such a deal.
When David Thompson left North Carolina State, he was left as one of the greatest college players to ever play the game, and that status stands to this day. He was chosen with the overall No. 1 pick in the 1975 draft in both the NBA (by the Atlanta Hawks), and the ABA (by the Virginia Squires). Thompson would decide to play in the ABA, and the Nuggets acquired his draft rights in a trade with the Squires.
Like him or not, Carmelo Anthony was one of the greatest Nuggets of all time. His trade to the New York Knicks in February of 2011 marked the end of a long, drawn out, season-long saga, through which Anthony successfully maneuvered his way out of town. His departure ended one of the most memorable eras in Nuggets history, and ushered in the current one.
The 1994-95 season offered its share of unforgettable moments, and rookie Rodney Rogers did his best to stake claim to one of the more memorable ones. Trailing 94-86 to the Utah Jazz with about 30 seconds left in the game, Rogers hit three 3-pointers in nine seconds to give the Nuggets a one point lead. Unfortunately, they wound up losing the game, but not before Rogers nearly completed the most improbable comeback in NBA history.
The 2008-09 season was one of the most memorable years in Nuggets history. Bringing in Chauncey Billups at the beginning of the season, a renewed Nuggets squad fought their way through a tough New Orleans Hornets squad, a veteran Dallas Mavericks team, and was one inbounds play away from taking the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers to a seventh game. I have no doubt that if they had beat the Lakers, they would have brought home the trophy.
The 2002-03 season was one of the worst seasons ever for the Nuggets, but it did land them with the third overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. With LeBron James the consensus No. 1 pick and the Detroit Pistons drafting second, the Nuggets would either be selecting Carmelo Anthony or Darko Milicic with the third pick. In one of the biggest blunders in draft history, the Pistons selected Milicic, and Anthony fell to the Nuggets. The rest is history.
No surprise here. In one of the biggest upsets in NBA history, the No. 8 seed Nuggets became the first team ever to knock off a No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Even though the 2009 team made it further, they couldn’t match the magic that this team provided this city. It is something that probably won’t be surpassed until the Nuggets find a way to bring home the trophy.
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