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The history of the Denver Nuggets from Wikipedia. 80022
The Denver Nuggets are a professional basketball team based in Denver, Colorado that plays in the National Basketball Association. The team was founded as the Denver Larks in 1967 as a charter franchise of the American Basketball Association (ABA) but changed its name to Rockets before the first season. It changed its name again to the Nuggets in anticipation of an ABA-NBA merger in 1974, and played for the final ABA Championship title in 1976, losing to the New York Nets. The team joined the NBA in 1976 after the ABA-NBA merger and has had some periods of success, making the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons in the 1980s and doing the same for the previous nine seasons. However, it has not made an appearance in a championship round since its last year in the ABA.
The Nuggets play their home games at the Pepsi Center, which they share with the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL.
In 1967, one of the ABA's charter franchises was awarded to a group in Kansas City, Missouri headed by Southern California businessman James Trindle. However, Trindle was unable to find a suitable arena in the Kansas City area. League commissioner George Mikan suggested moving the team to Denver. After agreeing to name Denver native and former NBA player Vince Boryla as general manager, Trindle moved his team to Denver as the Denver Larks, named after the Colorado state bird. The Trindle group was severely undercapitalized, leading Mikan to order the Larks to post a $100,000 performance bond or lose the franchise. Hours before the deadline, Trindle sold a two-thirds controlling interest to Denver trucking magnate Bill Ringsby for $350,000. Ringsby then renamed the team the Rockets, after his company's long-haul trucks.
Playing at Denver Auditorium Arena, the Rockets had early successes on the court, developing a solid fan base along the way. However, the team had a history of early playoff exits and failed to play in an ABA championship series.
Early, they had a solid lineup led by Byron Beck and Larry Jones, then later by Beck and Ralph Simpson. Lonnie Wright of the American Football League's Denver Broncos signed with the Rockets during that first season and became the first player to play professional football and basketball in the same season. Wright played 4 seasons with Denver. Controversial rookie Spencer Haywood joined the team for the 1969–70 season. Haywood was one of the first players to turn pro before graduating from college, and the NBA initially refused to let him play in the league. Haywood averaged nearly 30 points and 19.5 rebounds per game in his only ABA season, being named ABA MVP, ABA rookie of the year, as well as the All-Star Game MVP. The team finished 51-33, winning their division, before exiting the playoffs in the 2nd round.
Just before the start of the 1970-71 season, Haywood signed with the NBA Seattle SuperSonics and jumping to the NBA. The team tumbled to a 30-54 record and attendance suffered.