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Tony Gorman |
NPRThursday, June 1, 2023
The NBA finals kick off Thursday night. It's the first time the Denver Nuggets have made it to the league championship in the franchise's 47-year NBA history. Denver is stoked.
JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:
The NBA Finals tips off tonight with the Miami Heat in Denver to play the Nuggets. It's the first time the Nuggets have made the finals in their 47 years in the NBA. From Colorado Public Radio, Tony Gorman reports on Denver fans' excitement and fear of heartbreak.
TONY GORMAN, BYLINE: Chopper's Sports Grill in metro Denver is named for longtime Nuggets trainer Robert "Chopper" Travaglini, the bar's late owner. Randy Davis is here having lunch with friends. He's happy the team finally got past the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs.
RANDY DAVIS: The Lakers have been our nemesis pretty much the entire 50 years I've been watching those guys. So we always get to that point, and they take us out - so very sweet that we swept them and we got rid of them.
GORMAN: Davis has rooted for the team since they played as the Denver Rockets in the old American Basketball Association. Since joining the NBA in 1976, they've reached the conference finals three times and fell to the Lakers each time before this season. Davis's emotions are high, but he's trying to keep them in check.
DAVIS: It's always that cusp of right there, but then some little fluke thing happens.
GORMAN: Denver's NFL and National Hockey League teams have won three national titles each, and even their lacrosse team is defending their national title this weekend. Nuggets fan Ryan Leopando.
RYAN LEOPANDO: I think Denver's got more talent than anyone that's left, and they're not getting the respect that they should get.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
JENNIFER LOPEZ: (Singing) Let's get loud. Let's get loud.
MICHAEL HANCOCK: So to national media, forget y'all. Our Denver Nuggets are bringing home the championship. You don't have to give us credit. They're going to earn the credit, right?
GORMAN: That's Denver Mayor Michael Hancock renaming a new street downtown on Wednesday Denver Nuggets Way. Susan Gallo thought former Nuggets all-stars like Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups would get them to this point in the past. Now she's more than confident the team will win with new stars like Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
SUSAN GALLO: We've had some tough times in between, but with Jokic and Murray and MPJ, we've got a really solid team. And hopefully, those four wins will come easily and we will be celebrating in this park in a few weeks.
GORMAN: After tonight's game, the Heat and Nuggets will play again in Denver Sunday. The series then moves to Miami Wednesday.
HANCOCK: We got four more to go, but love this group. Let's go, Nugget nation.
GORMAN: For NPR News, I'm Tony Gorman in Denver.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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