ARVADA, Colo. — As the Denver Nuggets and entire city celebrate the team's first win against Miami Heat during Game 1 of the NBA finals, Denver7 is highlighting super fans who have been cheering the Nuggets on for decades.
Dean Rizzuto from Arvada has been a fan of the team for around 50 years. He took a trip down memory lane as he reflected on how the games have evolved throughout the years.
Eight dollars and 80 cents — that's how much Rizzuto paid to watch the Nuggets compete in their first NBA playoff games back in the 1970s.
“I think the decimal places has moved a couple places over," said Rizzuto.
His love for the basketball team started before the Nuggets were even the Nuggets — when the team was known as the Rockets.
He's been collecting basketball cards and memorabilia since childhood.
His family members are even featured on some of the cards.
"We knew we had good seats and we sat at the front quite a bit. Sitting down and going through the cards one day, I looked and then I looked again and I’m like, 'That sure looks like my mom' and sure enough it was, and I’m sitting to the side on the other card too," said Rizzuto.
As a kid, he watched the team compete in the ABA Championships — where they lost to the New York Nets in 1976.
The Nuggets then joined the NBA and qualified for the playoffs immediately.
"I was able to go to the first year of the playoffs for the first time in the NBA," said Rizzuto.
But it wouldn't be until 2023 that the Nuggets would finally make it to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
"People are starting to get into it — there’s a lot of people into it that weren’t into it before and I think that’s great," he said.
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Rizzuto is still as dedicated to the team as ever.
"It's been neat for the rest of the country get to see what we’ve seen all year. They’ve always been a team I’ve been attached to for a long time and it's nice to see them successful and seeing where they’re going," the longtime fan said.