The Denver Nuggets trace their roots back to 1932 when the original amateur Nuggets were formed as a member of the Amateur Athletic Union. Led by player/coach “Jumping Jack” McCracken, the Nuggets were one of the most powerful amateur athletic basketball teams in the country, winning the 1939 AAU championship and losing the 1940 championship to the Phillips 66ers of ...
History of the Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets have a long and storied history in the NBA, dating back to 1948. The team was founded as part of the National Basketball League (NBL) and joined the newly formed Basketball Association of America (BAA). They were only two teams from that league to join when it merged with another league to become what we now know as the NBA.
In their first season, they finished second in their division with a record of 25-21 under head coach John McLendon. The team featured players such as Bob Feerick, Jack Nichols, and Don Sunderlage, who all averaged double figures for points during that inaugural year. Despite having some solid talent on the roster, they failed to make it out of first-round playoffs due mainly in part due to an injury sustained by star player Feerick late into the season, which limited his playing time significantly down stretch run games leading up to playoffs.
In the 1949–50 season, Nuggets acquired rookie forward George Yardley, who would be named Rookie Of the Year Award recipient after averaging 18 ppg & 8 rpg throughout the course regular campaign. This added piece helped Nuggets reach the postseason again but unfortunately ended up losing 1st round series against eventual champions Minneapolis Lakers 4-2 despite solid efforts from both Yardley & fellow All-Star teammate Arnie Ferrin who had terrific individual performances throughout the series, including 33 points outburst. Game 6 loss at home court where nugget eventually fell short 103-102 heartbreaker ending hopes advancing further into the tournament.
Though this particular iteration of Nugget Squad did not bring title city Denver, there is no doubt contributions made by the organization’s earliest members are still remembered fondly today amongst diehard fans alike across Mile High City region surrounding areas nationwide even though almost 70 years since those initial days NBL/BAA era basketball has passed us bye.
1950 - 1951 / National Professional Basketball League
1949 - 1950 / National Basketball Association
1948 - 1949 / National Basketball League/Basketball Association of America
1946 - 1948 / American Basketball League
1932 - 1940 / Missouri Valley League
1950 - 1951 / Denver Refiners
1946 - 1950 / Denver Nuggets
1945 - 1946 / Denver Ambrose Jellymakers
1941 - 1944 / Denver American Legion
1939 - 1940 / Denver Nuggets
1932 - 1938 / Denver Safeway Pigs
Nuggets - The Denver Nuggets have been a professional basketball team since 1948 and are one of the oldest National Basketball Association (NBA) teams. The team has had many nicknames over its long history, but its most iconic nickname is “Nuggets.” But where did this nickname come from?
It all began when original owner Ben Kerner decided to give his new franchise an identity that was as unique and memorable. He chose "Nuggets" because he wanted to signify gold mining, which at the time was synonymous with Colorado's economy and culture. The name also paid homage to Denver's Gold Rush era when prospectors came looking for riches in 1858-59.
Kerner felt that calling his new NBA franchise the Nuggets would help capture some of Colorado’s rich heritage while also giving people something they could easily remember and recognize whenever they heard it mentioned on sports broadcasts or read about them in newspapers or magazines. It worked! Since then, “Denver Nuggets” has become a household name among fans living within state lines and North America too!
Today, no matter who you ask - young fanatics or seasoned veterans - everyone knows what you're talking about when you mention "the Denver Nuggets." So next time someone brings up this classic NBA team, be sure to thank Ben Kerner for coming up with such a clever idea back during those early days of pro basketball – without him, we wouldn't have our beloved Nuggies today!
NPB Championship 0
NBA Championships 0
BAA Championship 0
ABL Championship 0
Amateur Athletic Association 3
1942, 1939, 1937
1932 - 1951 / Auditorium Arena
1932 – 1951 / Unknown
*Blue is this team’s history