May 25, 2009

Danny Shayes

I’m so beaming proud. Twenty years later, and the Nuggies are back in the thick of things. I remember those 1985 Denver Nuggets well. I remember every Denver Nuggets team since.

I remember Alex English came to read his poetry at my school. That guy was as graceful off the court as he was on. Amazing Grace and Chuck as was.

I remember Danny Shayes sat in front of me at Temple one year, allowing me to sleep without the rabbi being able to see me behind the seven-footer.

I remember being the team with the most seven foot white stiffs in the history of the league—Danny Shayes, Blair Rasmussen, Tim Kempton, and Scott Hastings. That’s nearly thirty feet of stiff effort and eight sharp elbows.

I remember the decline; the depths of a slide. I remember Orlando Woolridge scoring 30 points a game for Paul Westphal’s sub .250 team. I remember changing our uniform’s right after that, hoping to forever forget those bleak days.

I remember drafting Chris Jackson and winding up with Mahmoud Abdul Raouff.
I remember Jalen Rose’s pimp outfit on his own draft day; thinking he was the next Magic. Of course I also remember him turning into an all-star with the Indiana Pacers.

I remember Dikembe rejoicing in 1994, the last time we won a playoff series before this run. I remember Rodney Rogers hitting three 3’s in under ten seconds.

It’s been a long fifteen years, to say the least. There were times when I probably couldn’t name all 7 reserves on the bench. But in 2004, when the Nuggies drafted my favorite college basketballer of all-time, the one man to ever lead my Orangemen to a national championship, when they took Melo, well, it’s been all nuggets all the time for me since then.

I also remember Chauncey Billups in high school about two miles from where I grew up. Dude was Ill before Ill was bad (meaning good.) And now, because of Chauncey’s return home; because of Melo finally proving to the rest of the basketball world what he already proved to me in 2003; because they didn’t fire George Karl like I wanted them to at the end of last season; because they brought in the Birdman instead of paying Marcus Camby; because of how much I bitched and moaned when they fired the one guy on the team who played defense last year; and because of how hard they play defense this year, now I’ll remember another Nugget team, but this time, it will have been the best yet.