‹‹ Colorado Matters

For lifelong Nuggets fan, the NBA Finals cause exhilaration and appreciation

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11min 55sec
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Mayor Michael Hancock and Rocky the mascot congratulate the Denver Nuggets for making it to the NBA Finals. May 31, 2023.

Growing up a hoop-crazed fan in Denver, Nikki Swarn found herself gravitating towards one particular player on the local NBA team.

"I was completely obsessed with Alex English--he was like a gentle giant," Swarn says. "Watching this, I would love to be a fly on the wall to hear what Alex English, Mr. English, would say at this particular moment? How would he be feeling after all his work and, and how close this, this, this victory could be for us."

This, as Swarn calls it, is something that neither she, nor English, who was a perennial all-star with the Nuggets -- or virtually anyone else closely or remotely associated with the franchise has experienced. Some 47 years after joining the NBA, the Nuggets are playing for the league championship. On Thursday, the Western Conference champions host the Miami Heat, winners from the Eastern Conference, in Game 1 of a best-of-seven series.

Swarn, the general manager and interim program director at KUVOJazz and hip-hop station The Drop, spoke to Colorado Matters about her love of the Nuggets and all things sports and why she thinks, after decades of frustration, the time to raise an NBA championship banner into the rafters of Ball Arena is at hand.