My 15-year love affair with a franchise I had no rational reason for affiliation with has been mentioned a time or two here on this sweet, little cottage industry we call “Rumors and Rants.”
I’m talking about the Rich and Creamies. The one and only, Denver Nuggets.
Now, here’s a brief history lesson (and by brief, I mean half your lunch break). I was born in Chicago, but moved to Atlanta when I was two-years old. My mom’s whole family still lived in Chicago and I grew up a Cubs (thanks to WGN), Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks fan.
In 1993, I stopped being a Chicago Bulls fan.
After John Paxson’s three-pointer beat the Phoenix Suns in the ’93 Finals, I needed a new horse. It seemed everyone and their mother were now Bulls fans (By this time, my family and I were living in South Florida).
I think I chose to root for Chicago teams – despite not living there anymore – because it was different than everybody else around me. It was my subtle way of saying, “F’ you, buddy.”
His Airness was a victim of his own success. He was just too good for me to root for anymore.
In addition, I was always a midget (think of shrimpiest kid from your 5th grade class and that was me), so my allegiances to teams in sports I actually played were more rock solid than anything I felt for a basketball team.
As I explained earlier, I couldn’t root for my hometown team, so the Miami Heat were out, despite Sunshine Network’s awesome color-commentary by Dr. Jack Ramsay, who bravely predicted the deal that brought Brent Barry and Walt Williams to Miami during the 1995-96 season would catapult the Heat into a division title race (The Heat finished the year 42-40).
Yeah, no thanks.
I needed a fresh start. So, on one fateful Hannukah night (I think it was Night Three), I got a Dikembe Mutumbo Denver Nuggets No. 55 jersey (I also got a copy of “Earthworm Jim” for Sega Genesis that night, I think). I don’t know what possessed my mom to get a “Mutombo” jersey (I’m guessing she couldn’t find a Danny Schayes jersey), but it gave me the perfect opportunity to pick my new NBA team.
(I actually have a different theory behind my mother’s “Mutombo” selection. She thought I idolized athletes too much, so she picked a player I could never strive to be – a 7-foot African.)
So, I stuck with the Nuggets. Through thick and thin (and I’m talking really thin, like 1996-99). But things were starting to turn around. Detroit took some stiff named Darko and the Nuggz got Melo in 2003. Add in a Kenyon Martin, Marcus Camby and the pieces were there…for four consecutive first round exits.
We go out and get Allen Iverson, which only leads to first round exit No. 5. So what do we do? In this vital offseason, at this crossroads?
We, an epically awful defensive team, trade a two-time All-Defensive First Team performer in Camby for a case of Spalding Power Pump basketballs, Frankie Muniz autographed “Malcolm in the Middle” DVDs, Donald Sterling’s tanning secrets, and a condition Penny Marshall will go easy on the team on their next trip to the Staples Center.
This is one of the biggest white flag, give-up, pull-your-pants-down-and-kiss-your-ass-goodbye moves I’ve ever seen.
I’m done with it. Adios Denver Nuggets, you have lost me.
So once again, I need a new team. And I can’t wait until Hannukah to find out what jersey my mom is buying me this year.
I have decided that you, the readers (even it’s just a small circle of friends), choose which NBA franchise I shall support for the upcoming 2008-09 season and perhaps, dare I say it, eternity.
There are no qualifiers. If you think I haven’t suffered enough, the Clippers or T-Wolves would be an unwelcomed quick rabbit punch to the nuts. But I’m prepared for it. I will see positives in any situation.
Perhaps, it’s the newly minted Oklahoma City Thunder. I’ll get a chance to keep rooting for IU product D.J. White. I currently live in Indianapolis, but I’m about as enthused with the Pacers as the Pacers players are with stronger hand gun legislation.
The NBA’s fate among the pantheon of sports in my magnificent mind is in your hands.
Now what am I going to do with this gaudy Nuggets throwback sweatshirt? eBay, perhaps?