The original Denver Nuggets were founded in 1948 in the National Basketball League. After NBL merged with the Basketball Association of America to form the NBA, the Nuggets folded after playing the 1949-50 season as a charter team in the NBA. However, the current Nuggets team has its roots in the Denver Larks which was founded in 1967 as a charter franchise of the American Basketball Association. The team then changed the name to Denver Rockets before the first season. The franchise had good success in the ABA with a huge fan base. However, they struggled in the playoffs.
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After playing in the ABA for a few years, the franchise applied to join the NBA. In anticipation of the move to the NBA, the owners wanted a name change since the name Rockets was already in use with the Houston Rockets. So the team held a contest for a new name in 1974. Interestingly, the name "Nuggets" was chosen in honor of the original Nuggets that played in the NBL from 1948 to 1950. The Nuggets then finally joined the NBA in 1976.
Who is the owner of the Denver Nuggets?
Billionaire Stan Kroenke is the owner of the Denver Nuggets. The real estate mogul reportedly purchased the franchise along with NHL's Colorado Avalanche from Charlie Lyons's Ascent Entertainment Group for $450 million in 2000. He then organized his sports assets under the holding company Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. The company currently owns Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Rams, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Mammoth, Arsenal F.C., Arsenal W.F.C., Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Guerrillas, etc.
Kroenke was born on July 29, 1947, in Columbia, Missouri, and came from very humble beginnings. From a very young age, Kroenke was very keen on business. After college, he dived into real estate and found major success in building shopping centers and office buildings. In 1974, he married Ann Walton who is the daughter of Walmart co-founder James Walton. Kroenke continued his ascension and has built a business empire over the years. He has an estimated net worth of $12.9 billion.
Who is the General Manager of the Denver Nuggets?
Calvin Booth is the General Manager of the Nuggets. Notably, Booth played in the NBA for ten years before starting his career in the front office. The Washington Wizards selected him as the 35th overall pick in the 1999 draft. Throughout his career, the 6'11" Booths struggled for playing time. After playing for eight teams in ten years, he called it quits. Booths then started his career in the front office as a scout for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012. After one year, he joined the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he climbed the ranks to become the director of player personnel. In 2017, the Nuggets appointed Booth as the assistant GM and then named him the GM in 2020.
The Denver Nuggets reportedly signed a jersey patch sponsorship deal with the Denver-based Western Union in 2017. Ahead of the 2020-21 season, the Nuggets extended the deal for another three years. Some of the other major sponsors of the franchise are UCHealth, Molson Coors, Socios.com, Verizon, PointsBet, Avaya, Toyota, etc.
Denver Nuggets Roster
|Jamal Murray||Point Guard||26|
|Aaron Gordon||Power Forward||27|
|Michael Porter Jr.||Small Forward||24|
|Bruce Brown||Small Forward||26|
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||Shooting Guard||30|
|Jeff Green||Power Forward||36|
|Reggie Jackson||Point Guard||33|
|Ish Smith||Point Guard||34|
Achievements and Wins
The Nuggets' poor playoff run started back in their ABA days when the team reached the Finals against the New York Nets in 1975 when the Nets clinched the title. This brought a disappointing end to the Nuggets' time with the ABA as the team joined the NBA in the next season. The team won two division titles during their time in the ABA.
After moving to the NBA in 1976, the Nuggets continued their good run with legends like David Thompson, Marvin Webster, Dan Issel, and Bobby Jones. The team won two straight division titles in 1977 and 1978. However, the team struggled in the playoffs. After head coach Larry Brown left the team in 1979, the Nuggets suffered for a few years.
Then in the early 1980s, the team picked up some momentum with stars like Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe. Notably, English won the scoring title in 1983. Interestingly, he is the only Nuggets player ever to win the award. The Nuggets reached the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers In the 1984-85 season. Los Angeles closed out the series 4-1. The franchise won division titles in 1985 and 1988. However, the disappointment in the playoffs continued. This was followed by a couple of years without playoff appearances.
The team had new-found energy in the form of Dikembe Mutombo in the mid-1990s. They made the playoffs in 1993 and 1994 only to again disappoint themselves. After this, the team went through its biggest playoff drought of eight years from 1995 to 2002. The Nuggets saw a change in ownership when Stan Kroenke bought the team in 2000. Then in 2003, the Nuggets drafted superstar Carmelo Anthony and acquired NBA legend Allen Iverson in 2006. In 2008, the team reached the WCF only to lose to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Carmelo left the team in 2011 and head coach George Karl followed suit in 2013. The Nuggets then started their rebuild and hired Michael Malone as the head coach in 2014. Denver drafted Nikola Jokic in 2014 and Jamal Murray in 2016. The two have now become the cornerstones of the team. Jokic soon became one of the best players in the league, winning two straight NBA MVP awards. But they still struggled in the playoffs. The Nuggets once again lost the WCF against familiar foes Lakers in 2019. However, the team continued their good work and finally won their first-ever NBA title in the 2022-23 season against the Miami Heat.
Key Players and Coaches
The Denver Nuggets have had some legendary basketball players and coaches on their team over the years. The franchise has retired the jerseys of Alex English (2), Fat Lever (12), David Thompson (33), Byron Beck (40), Dan Issel (44), Dikembe Mutombo (55), and head coach Doug Moe. They have also had Hall of Famers like Allen Iverson, Tim Hardaway, Larry Brown, and so forth.
Denver Nuggets Rivals
The Denver Nuggets have an intense rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers because of their history. Prior to the 2022-23 season, the Nuggets had reached the NBA Western Conference Finals thrice. And the Lakers eliminated them on all three occasions. It dates back to 1985 WCF when Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the Lakers defeated the Nuggets 4-1.
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Then in the 2008-09 season, the rivalry intensified when Kobe Bryant and the Lakers faced an energetic Nuggets team led by Carmelo Anthony. The Lakers won the series 4-2. Then LeBron James and the Lakers eliminated the Nuggets in the 2020 WCF. Furthermore, the Lakers have also eliminated the Nuggets in the first round on four different occasions. The Nuggets finally had their revenge in the 2022-23 season by sweeping the Lakers in the WCF en route to their first ring.
Nuggets on Social Media
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|Owner||Kroenke Sports & Entertainment|
|General Manager||Calvin Booth|
|Head Coach||Michael Malone|
|Sponsors||Western Union, UCHealth, Verizon, etc|
|Team Value||$1.93 Billion|