Apr 232009
 
Authors: Sean Star

One of the best rants found recently in RamTalk: “Until further notice, April is now renamed Nugget-tober.”

It may not have the same ring as Rocktober, nor will the Nuggets ever try to copyright and sell it, but indeed April 2009 is beginning to feel a lot like October 2007.

It’s not quite déj/ vu, but it sure seems like we’re headed in that direction.

The home team is not only winning in the playoffs, but it’s doing so in dominating fashion. Our attention has been completely diverted with the rare euphoria that only comes from playoff success.

And best of all, just like Rocktober, it’s all new.

Because, unless your memory is far superior or you’re significantly older, the Nuggets’ last playoff series win is nothing more than the faint, lasting image of Dikembe Mutombo holding the ball above his head laying on his back after upsetting top-seeded Seattle in 1994.

Other than that, it’s been so long playoff success has become more folklore than reality.

Not anymore. After repeatedly striking out on the first date the last five years, the Nuggets are finally getting some. And, damn, does it feel good.

Rocktober carried the Rockies all the way to a National League pennant and eventually to the World Series. With the mighty Lakers looming, “Nugget-tober” appears to have a little less staying power, as a championship run still remains a long shot. But that’s not to say it’s not as sweet.

Rocktober turned out to be a fluke that came out of nowhere, which is exactly where the Rockies are now. “Nugget-tober” is authentic, more satisfying and has a chance at becoming a yearly event.

The Rocks may have had an adoring rookie with a catchy chant and a grizzled veteran long deserving of playoff success, but these Nuggets have more feel-good stories than the children’s section of a library.

Chris “Birdman” Andersen not only flies around the rim, swatting

and dunking with vigor, but his unlikely comeback from a lengthy drug suspension is almost incomprehensible. Plus, anyone who has ever played a single game of competitive basketball has to respect his hustle.

Then there’s Nene. After several inconsistent years filled with more promise than production, the Brazilian big man has become a beast in the paint, ensuring the Nuggets are no longer getting pushed around down low. And he’s done so after battling testicular cancer last year. Anyone needing inspiration, look no further.

And don’t forget about the roller coaster ride that is Carmelo Anthony’s career. Sure, he’s won an NCAA championship and an Olympic gold medal, but right now he’s more known for his inconsistent defense and myriad suspensions. With a playoff series victory or two, Melo could start to steer that reputation back in the right direction.

And finally, of course, there’s Chauncey Billups. At the rate he’s going, he’s on pace to become the one of the state’s greatest sports heroes ever. Without question, the Denver native is the single-biggest factor in creating “Nugget-tober” thanks to his leadership, focus and attitude.

Could there be anything more fun than watching a guy return home to take his team on a long-needed run deep in the postseason? Don’t think so, which is why “Nugget-tober” has me hooked and won’t let go.

But, as mentioned, “Nugget-tober” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. And considering it’s April, it doesn’t even make sense.

So how about Nuggril? Sure, it could use some work, but let it soak in a little first.

On second thought, forget it. “Nugget-tober” it is.

Sport columnist Sean Star can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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