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Since merging with the NBA in 1976, this Colorado-based basketball team has been searching for their ever-elusive first championship. The Denver Nuggets make their way onto the court at Pepsi Center each night in a dogged pursuit of the top prize in the NBA.
Founded as the Denver Larks, this team quickly changed to the Rockets before even playing their first season. Finally settling on the Nuggets in 1974, they switched to the NBA just two seasons later and have represented the Western Conference ever since. A staple franchise of the Northwest Division, the Denver Nuggets are always a tough opponent.
Known in the 1980s as a high scoring team, the combination of Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe led the Nuggets to the 1985 Western Conference Finals before they were bounced in five games by the eventual champion Lakers. Even after Vandeweghe was traded, English and company continued to be a successful team.
Denver began to struggle as the 80s wound down and the 1990s were a time when the team couldn’t seem to get rolling, even with the help of Dikembe Mutombo. The Nuggets would only advance to the NBA playoffs twice in the decade and never made it past the second round.
Things would begin to change in 2003 when the Nuggets selected Carmelo Anthony with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft. Anthony joining the team coincided with an overhaul to the Nuggets logo, color scheme, and uniforms, signaling a new era in the Colorado city. Immediately making an impact, the Nuggets would go on to make the playoffs in 2003-2004 and would continue to in a streak that lasted through the 2012-2013 season.
A host of talent came in and out of Denver in the next few seasons. Allen Iverson was brought on via a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2006 and gave Denver a dominant tandem. He was traded just a few seasons later for a host of players, including Chauncey Billups, whose depth helped this team reach the Western Conference Finals for just the second time in franchise history at the end of the 2008-2009 season, only have their hopes dashed again by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Anthony, Billups, and others were traded to the New York Knicks in a massive multi-team deal in 2011. Denver was without a face for their franchise. However, the team rose to the occasion and made the playoffs the next two seasons. However, those appearances would be their last for a while as the Nuggets would not make the playoffs again until the 2018-2019 season. A blue collar team led by Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Gary Harris, this group is hard at work on securing the first championship banner to be hoisted to the rafter at Pepsi Center for the Denver Nuggets.
Many talented NBA players have passed through Denver over the years. Among the best to have suited up for the Nuggets include Alex English, Dikembe Mutombo, Carmelo Anthony, David Thompson, Fat Lever, and Allen Iverson. Click here for additional information about the Atlanta Hawks.