The last time I saw Chauncey Billups he was sitting right below me in a court side seat watching the CU Buffs beat Iowa State back on February 1. It was an off night for the Nuggets and Chauncey had driven up from Denver to root on the NCAA tournament hopeful Buffs.
Beneath a towering mural of Chauncey himself still adorning the wall of the Coors Event center sat several kids guest of none other than CB himself. Chauncey’s Kids Roundup.
In one of the few real sports towns in America that can advertise being the home to four major league franchises – Nuggets, Broncos, Rockies and Avalanche - home grown Chauncey Billups is king. King of the (Park) Hill the tattoo on his shoulder reads.
From Mr. Colorado Basketball at George Washington, taking CU to the big dance, on to a World Championship with the Detroit Pistons and a NBA Finals MVP and the ultimate return home to his beloved Denver Nuggets, CB is the most famous athlete ever to come out of Denver.
A devoted family man who never has been in any kind of trouble he has represented the Denver sports fan with the respect they deserve.
When the trade went down on Monday night that shipped off MTV wannabes Melo and LaLa to the bright lights of New York and their reality TV show in waiting, CB got caught up in the wash and begrudgingly became part of the trade. Having had earned the respect of his peers from around the league and his championship pedigree CB’s salary was needed to make the deal work.
This was the real tragedy in the transaction; Denver had lost their true icon. Nobody and I mean nobody – not Melo, Stan or Josh Kroenke, Masai Ujiri or George Karl – wanted to win an NBA Championship for the Denver Nuggets more than Chauncey Billips.
He may be gone for now, but this is still Chauncey’s hood. He’ll come back and when he does we, the Denver sports fan, will forever give him the respect he deserves.