DENVER — Enjoy the journey.
That was the message Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone would preach and live by as his team rode through the wild ride that was the NBA bubble.
A journey that practically started one year ago. Knowing what we know now, the Nuggets had plenty of motivation.
Proof of that? Holding the Western Conference's third-best record. But there's more proof than just their record.
In a pandemic-plagued season, the Nuggets were the teachers, and we the fans, were the students.
Through the birth of a star, through the Joker's countless efforts to play this game unselfishly, through not one -- but two -- historical 3-1 comebacks, and even through a 4 games to 1 Conference Finals loss to 'The King' -- the Nuggets taught us about heart.
They taught us about guarantees. They also taught us what we really should be fighting for.
"In life, you find things that hold value to you. and things to fight for. We found something to fight for. These shoes give me life," Jamal Murray said after playing a playoff game wearing shoes with pictures of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor on them.
"The reason I wear this shirt is because I feel a responsibility to bring light to it. I don't think Elijah McClain's name is mentioned enough in all this."
Denver is still looking for its first NBA championship. And by no means is getting to the Conference Finals satisfactory.
This city is hungry for a title.
Between the Nuggets, Broncos, Rockies, Avalanche and Rapids, it's the Mile High City's basketball team which is closest to achieving that goal.
Maybe next year Denver's chance of reaching the NBA Finals won't be stopped by the Lakers like it was in 1985, 2009 and again in 2020.
Then finally the people of Denver may just get to enjoy the best journey of them all -- One that sends them to the promised land.
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