(Spanish CNN) — The Denver Nuggets find themselves in a moment they’ve never known before: they’re playing their first NBA Finals in history.
Since entering the NBA in the 1970s, the Nuggets had made it to the Finals a few times a few times, but they had never been able to make the leap to the Championship Series…until now.
The Denver team, led by its superstar Nikola Jokic, is playing for the title of best team in the NBA this season and faces a Miami Heat whose hopes seem to be in the hands of Jimmy Butler.
Can Jokic and company achieve the dream title for the Nuggets? As the teams battle it out for the final series, we leave you here with data from Denver’s infield history.
Origin of the Denver Nuggets
- The Denver franchise was born in 1967 and was one of the founding teams of the American Basketball Association (ABA) that same year, a league that was created to rival the NBA – which at the time had almost 20 years-, notes the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
- At first, they weren’t called the Nuggets, but the Rockets. However, with their arrival in the NBA in 1976, they had to change their name to the Nuggets as the Houston Rockets were already in the league.
- The Nuggets’ prospects looked promising in their NBA debut: In the first two seasons they played, the Denver team won the division title and even reached a conference final, but failed to advance further.
- Since then, the Nuggets have had streaks of success in the regular season, but in the playoffs they lacked the results needed to win the championship. Jokic has a shot at bringing the first NBA title to Denver.
- Of the 46 seasons the team has played in the NBA (including the current 2022/2023 season), the Nuggets have reached the playoffs 29 times, according to league data.
- Of those 29 occasions, only one has qualified for the NBA Finals: in the current 2022/2023 campaign, in which they face the Miami Heat in a bid to win their first league title.
- The Nuggets had two major post-season streaks: the first was from the 1981/82 season to the 1989/90 campaign; and the second from 2003/2004 to 2012/2013. In those times, they still qualified for the playoffs, but failed to win the title.
- Denver’s team is on another streak right now, having qualified for back-to-back playoffs since the 2018/2019 campaign.
- In their history, they reached the final of their conference (the Western Conference of the NBA) four times. Three lost them (in the 1977/1978, 1984/1985 and 2008/2009 seasons) and one won it (in the current 2022/2023).
Here are some of the team’s historical regular season leaders, according to NBA data:
- Most games played: Alex English, with 837 games
- Most points: Alex English (21,645)
- Most assists: Nikola Jokic (3,959)
- Most rebounds: Nikola Jokic (6,273)
- Most flights: Levier Lafayette (1,167)
In the playoffs, here are some of the historical leaders:
- Most games played: Nikola Jokic, with 64 games
- Most points: Nikola Jokic (1,745)
- Most assists: Nikola Jokic (474)
- Most rebounds: Nikola Jokic (760)
- Most interceptions: TR Dunn (83)
Of these players, Jokic is the only active one, and he has some time left on the court as he is barely 28 years old.
In 2018, the year their current franchise-level winning streak began, the Nuggets unveiled their new logo design, which features two spikes, a ball, and a mountain.
Historically, these have been iconic elements of the Nuggets crest:
- The peaks represent the great mining tradition of Colorado, whose capital is Denver.
- In fact, the name “Nuggets” was given to the team in honor of gold mining in the state. “Nuggets” in English refers to nuggets of precious metals like gold.
- Colorado is a state known for its mountains, which is why it’s a characteristic seal on its shield.