This story originally appeared in Mile High Sports Magazine. Read the full digital edition.

One of the most colorful franchises – both literally and figuratively – in all of sports, the Denver Nuggets recently turned in their 40th year in the National Basketball Association. Seems like a great time to take a look back, identifying some of the organization’s most-colorful characters.

Editor’s Note: Many of the players that follow crossed timeframes. Rather than including those players in multiple eras, the staff at Mile High Sports voted as to which era they were most associated. Send your thoughts (and criticisms) to [email protected].

1996 – 2005

You’ll recognize these players – and there were some good ones. But truth be told, this was a down time for the Nuggets, until, that is, a kid named Carmelo Anthony rolled into town.

Marcus Camby
6’11” | Center-Power Forward


An absolute menace in the paint, Camby could well be the Nuggets’ most aggressive defensive player of all-time. He ranks second in team history in blocks and is tied for third in defensive rebounds despite ranking 20th in minutes played. Analytics geeks will slobber over his 18.5 value over replacement, while some fans still cringe about his overemphasis on shot blocking. 

Dale Ellis
6’7” | Small Forward


In a career that touched parts of three decades, Ellis played just three seasons in Denver. Still, his 448 3-pointers rank fourth all-time and his .388 3-point percentage is seventh in team history. While he wasn’t the prolific scorer in Denver that he was in Seattle, he still averaged 14.3 PPG and set a career high for free throw percentage while in Denver.

LaPhonso Ellis
6’8” | Power Forward

Although he doesn’t rank in the top 10 in any major statistical category for Denver, “The Fonz” was a mainstay in the Nuggets frontcourt alongside Dikembe Mutombo throughout the early and mid-1990s. In his sophomore campaign, Ellis was the leading scorer for Denver, averaging 16.0 PPG, in the famous upset series over the SuperSonics in the first round of the 1994 NBA Playoffs.



Raef LaFrentz
6’11” | Center


While he never lived up to his No. 3-overall pick status, LaFrentz still accomplished a good deal in Denver over his three and a half seasons, including an injury-shortened rookie campaign. LaFrentz ended his Nuggets career averaging 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 13.2 points per game while averaging 31.3 minutes. His 556 blocks rank eighth in team history. 

Antonio McDyess

6’9” | Center-Power Forward
1995-97, ’98-2002


A versatile big man, McDyess still claims a spot inside the team’s top-10 lists for both field goals and blocks. For a player whose career was strewn with injuries, he still managed to rank 10th all-time in minutes per game in a Nuggets uniform with 34.0. Sadly, McDyess was often the lone bright spot on struggling teams; he never played in the postseason during his two stints in Denver.

Andre Miller
6’3” | Point Guard-Shooting Guard
2003-06, ’11-14

“The Professor” was never flashy, but every season Miller was on the Nuggets’ roster at the end of the regular season Denver was playing in the postseason. Unfortunately, Denver never advanced past the first round with Miller running the point. His 2,987 assists rank third in franchise history. Of his 16,278 career points, nearly one-third came in a Nuggets uniform.

Robert Pack
6’2”| Point Guard
1992-95, 2000-01

Not until J.R. Smith was there a Nuggets player who could jump out of the gym quite like Pack. He was runner-up in the 1994 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, the best finish by a Nugget in contest history. Alongside Dikembe Mutombo, LaPhonso Ellis and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Pack was a major figure in the upset playoff win over Seattle in 1994.


James Posey
6’8” | Small Forward

Not many people think of the journeyman Posey as a Nugget, but Denver’s top pick in the 1999 draft played more games in a Nuggets uniform than with any of his six other teams. Posey averaged 28.4 minutes with 5.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 9.4 points per game during his three and a half years in Denver. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie second team in 2000 with the Nuggets and went on to win titles with Miami (2006) and Boston (’08).

Bryant Stith
6’5” | Shooting Guard

Stith didn’t light up the scoreboard as a shooting guard, averaging just 10.9 PPG during his Nuggets career, but when he logged significant minutes the Nuggets found ways to win (relatively speaking). For three straight seasons, beginning in 1993-94, Stith played in at least 81 games each season, averaging at least 28.8 MPG. Denver won a combined 118 games during that span and went to the playoffs twice.

Nick Van Exel
6’1” | Point Guard

“Nick the Quick” could not only dish it (he averaged 8.4 assists per game in Denver, a franchise best), he could also score (his 425 3-pointers are fifth all-time). He was also like the Energizer Bunny, logging 37.5 minutes per game, good for second all-time behind Allen Iverson in the Nuggets’ NBA era.

40 for 40 Nuggets in the NBA

Featured Image Credit: