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Kroenke bought Nuggets, kept team in Denver, now hoping to deliver an NBA title

NBA Finals Kroenkes Basketball
Posted at 11:00 AM, Jun 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-04 14:50:50-04

DENVER (AP) — Some might say Stan Kroenke and family would be pulling off the impossible by bringing a long-awaited NBA title to Denver.

That the Nuggets are in Denver at all was no sure thing before the family arrived nearly a quarter-century ago.

Much has been made about how the Nuggets were able to reach their first NBA Finals thanks to the stubborn patience displayed by the Kroenkes.

Less discussed was their willingness to dive into a messy acquisition process in 1999 for a largely irrelevant franchise that had been considered a relocation prospect as the 21st century approached.

Kroenke's deal to purchase the Nuggets, along with the Colorado Avalanche and their home arena for $450 million, included a clause that tethered the NBA franchise to Denver for the ensuing 25 years.

These days, the Nuggets are estimated by Forbes to be worth $1.93 billion. But that wasn't the case in the 80s, when the Nuggets were close to getting the ax from the NBA altogether.

Here's how a $4 million contract almost bankrupted the team:

The $4M contract that nearly bankrupted the Nuggets in the early 80s

And the arena where they play has an interesting backstory, too. Denver7 learned that without actor Harrison Ford, the Nuggets might not have Ball Arena.

Here's how the movie "Air Force One" helped fund the Pepsi Center, now Ball Arena:

How the movie 'Air Force One' helped fund the Pepsi Center, now Ball Arena

The Nuggets are 1-0 after dominating their first-ever Finals game, beating the Miami Heat 104-93 in Game 1. Game 2 airs Sunday at 6 p.m. on Denver7.

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