It never ceases to amaze me that there are fans who judge the quality of their team by the amount of love they get on the national stage.
“We beat the Lakers, and all the highlights were of LeBron instead of Murray and Millsap!”
“Joker is seventh in All-Star voting. What a crock of #&$%.”
To be fair to Denver fans, I’ve lived all over the country and I can tell you that your aggravation is not isolated. A fair amount of cities I’ve been in feel the same way. But, before you start over-analyzing Scott Van Pelt’s choices for Sportscenter’s Top-10 plays of the day, let me ask you two questions:
Why are you surprised?
Why do you care?
Like the big wheel on The Price is Right, the local source for this emotional argument can spin from team to team. The current culprit is of course the Denver Nuggets. Thanks to a roster that has continued to grow together and mature, the Nuggets are at the top of the Western Conference and have been for a while. But as predictable as I-25 traffic, the angry mob has grabbed their social media torches to scream about Mile High Basketball’s lack of respect on the national stage.
But you know what, Nuggets fans? Get over yourself.
This team has accomplished nothing. They have earned nothing. They have proven nothing. Not in the eyes of the national media. And in some cases, not even for locally trained eyes. Yes, what the Nuggets have done up until now has been wonderful, but results through February in the NBA are about as important as the first three quarters of any game – which is to say, “not very.” The real thing doesn’t happen until the fourth quarter, March, or best yet, the playoffs. So what’s said right now is of little relevance.
And that should be okay with you.
The national media will forever have an east coast bias, if not simply a “big market” bias. Denver, and many others, will continue to be flyover news that is nothing more than “the team Steph Curry played tonight.” This has been the case for decades. While the Broncos may bring the attention of those national eyes, look no further than the (lack of) representation in the Pro Football Hall of Fame to see that not even the NFL can cure all pains for cities like ours.
Now that we understand that you should not be surprised by the lack of attention to the Nuggets, let’s get to the more important question: Why do you care? At what point did your fandom become predicated on the amount of screen time NBA Countdown gives to Gary Harris? Did you become a bigger fan just because Charles Barkley had nice things to say?
Then why let something as trivial as the national media drain your emotional tank? I’m fairly certain that Bill Simmons couldn’t find his way from Union Station to Pepsi Center without a personal driver, so I don’t care what he thinks about our arena or our crowds. All I know is that his Celtics took that “L” with them on the way out.
I care about what our local friends and neighbors think. I care about the writings and analysis of people like our own T.J. McBride, Duvalier Johnson, Jena Garcia, Brandon Ewing and Doug Ottewill along with The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider and the entire Altitude team.
Lose the little brother syndrome, Nuggets fans. Stop whining and enjoy what you have while recognizing that there is still a long way to go.