Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Finals

I'm not trying to usurp Cecil's pozish as the HoG's lead NBA analyst, and I'm certainly not going to try and break down last night's sweet beatdown of the overmatched and classless Mavericks. I've never pretended to be a big hoops fan, and I don't watch a whole lot of NBA ball.

I am, however, a Nuggets fan, and I have been my whole life. Back when I was a kid I went ape shit over the run-and-gun teams of Doug Moe, Alex English and Fat Lever. I've always followed the Nuggets, and of course I was fired up when they landed the No. 3 pick in 2003 and landed Carmelo. Denver has steadily improved since then--adding the parts necessary to build an elite team. They've taken hotheaded, me-first thugs (Cuban's word, not mine) like J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin and coaxed them into playing vital supporting parts. They've added role players like Birdman and Anthony Carter. And most important they brought The Chauncey home where he belongs, to make the whole thing work.

But I am not, again, here to analyze the X's and O's of this particular playoff run. I just want to tell a story about a stranger and a T-shirt.

I threw on a Nuggets shirt yesterday and went to work. I'd planned on meeting some friends later to watch the game, and I wasn't sure if I'd have a chance to make it home to change before tip-off. All day I had folks saying "Go Nugs" and stopping to talk about the game, Dirk and Cuban, The Chauncey, the Lakers, the whatever. I must have had ten interactions based on my choice of wardrobe.

It occurred to me last night that in my entire life this had never happened even once. I have never had a random conversation about the Nuggets with anyone, ever. Now I live in the hinterlands of Colorado, and I'm sure that Nuggets fandom runs stronger the closer one gravitates toward the City of Denver. I'll bet Cecil has these kinds of chats at the coffee shop or the lingerie store all the time. I just never had, before yesterday.

I've talked to approximately every resident of this state about the Denver Broncos on Monday Mornings and Friday afternoons. I've talked about CU football, Avalanche hockey and Kobe rape. These are just the kinds of things that come up between two random dudes who need something to rap about before the porn store opens. It would be great if the Denver Nuggets became a casual topic of conversation around here, instead of a reason to cover your eyes in the winter.

It's hard to say what a Nuggets championship would mean here. I'll be the first to admit, we're spoiled as Colorado sports fans. We've witnessed two Super Bowl wins in the last dozen years, as well as four other title games in my lifetime. The Avs have been around less than 15 years and have two Stanley Cups. My alma mater, the CSU Rams, captured three Mountain West titles under Sonny Lubick. Our hated rivals, the CU Buffs, won a fake national championship in 1990.

Hell, the Colorado Rockies went to a World Series less than two years ago. I attended a World Series game in the state of Colorado. That is, frankly, insane. Present that fact to a long-suffering fan from any of a dozen cities in this country and I'm sure they'd want to punch me in the nuts.

For these reasons, seeing George Karl and these Nuggets hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy in June would be really, really neat but not life-changing. Not like This One's For John. Not even like that first Avalanche Cup (because it was our first title that did not involve a fifth-down play, and we got to get drunk and have a parade).

Part of me--a very tiny little part--would rather have Cleveland win it, just so they could win something. But I'll be watching, casual half-bandwagon fair-weather non-basketball fan that I am, and praying for that victory. Because fuck everybody else, that's why. And Jesus hates Cleveland.


bankmeister said...

Ah, yes. The coveted Larry O' Brien. Which one of the Krishna brothers did O' Brien play in "Airplane"? I can never remember.

Dylan said...

This one's for.... Lydia Moore!
Go Nugz!
I'm going to Denver/Steamboat May21-25.
May be able to make a Nugs game.
If I run into you guys, I'll get you a coffee/beer. In Cecil's case, sounds like a silky thong is in order. I bet his color is red.

I also got some good Bank stories. He's been trying to legally change his last name to Pioli. Hangin' out at Pioli's health club, saying things like: "Oh, you belong here too?" He's gettin' goofy.

Cecil said...

The Rockets force game 7 against the Lakers. Yes.

Cecil said...

Oh, and I prefer Forest Green.