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Nuggets provide instruction, motivation at Unified game

Even with a tight schedule during the shortened 2011-12 NBA season, the Denver Nuggets are still making time to connect with the community.

Nuggets teammates Chris Andersen, Corey Brewer, Kenneth Faried and Kosta Koufos made a surprise appearance at the Unified basketball game between Heritage and Littleton high schools on Jan. 23.

Joining the players were Nuggets SuperMascot Rocky and the Denver Nuggets Dancers.

“The community does so much for us, the least we can do is try to support as many people as possible within the community,” Koufos said. “It’s always good to see a smile on a kid’s face. Most importantly, I think everybody enjoyed themselves.”

Unified basketball is a partnership between students with special needs and the general student population working together to play modified basketball.

The game at Heritage drew a crowd of more than 1,000 people and included more than 100 volunteer partners helping the 30 special-needs students.

The Nuggets players provided instruction and motivation for the players, while Rocky added his unique style of entertainment. At one point, Rocky climbed to the top of the backboard and watched as Andersen dunked a few feet below him.

“Unified basketball games are a celebration of a community that supports every student in our school,” said Heritage special educator and Unified coach Mindy Wilson. “Nuggets Night takes that celebration to a whole new level, which is absolutely magical and truly unforgettable for everyone involved.

“The fact that the Nuggets players and organization jump right in and contribute to our traditions and sense of community by honoring our athletes and program is nothing less than remarkable.”

The Heritage and Littleton Unified programs are scheduled to play again at Pepsi Center before the Nuggets’ game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 7.

“We are so pleased to support such an amazing program that helps strengthen their school community,” said Doug Fulton, senior manager of fan development for Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. “It is always a win-win situation for all of us and so much fun to see everyone enjoy themselves on and off the court.”


Aaron Lopez
Aaron J. Lopez is the primary writer for, providing behind-the-scenes content, including feature stories and video for the site. Before joining the Nuggets in 2009, he spent 15 years covering Colorado sports for the Rocky Mountain News and the Associated Press, making him one of the longest-tenured sports writers in Denver. Aaron's full bio...