Hickenlooper signs bill approving Nuggets license plates

Proceeds from $45 donation will benefit Kroenke Sports Charities

Nuggets coach George Karl sized up the familiar blue-and-yellow design and then gave his stamp of approval.

“Pretty nice,” he said. “I’ll try to buy one.”

Karl was talking about the new Denver Nuggets license plates that will be available to Colorado vehicle owners thanks to a bill that was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper during a ceremony at South High School on Thursday.

The Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche plates will be available starting Jan. 1, 2012, for a one-time $45 donation to Kroenke Sports Charities, in addition to the other motor-vehicle registration fees that apply.

Proceeds from the specialty sports plates will go toward Kroenke Sports Charities, which provides more than $1 million in funds and in-kind donations to hundreds of Colorado schools and non-profit organizations each year.

“Our goal is to win, but our hope is to make a difference,” Karl said. “Professional sports teams, coaches and players have an opportunity to touch the lives of our fans both on and off the court. Hopefully we can use our ‘celebrity status’ to make our community stronger.”

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, and Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver.

Flanked by Karl and Nuggets supermascot Rocky, Hickenlooper signed the bill that will officially go into law on July 1. Kroenke Sports & Entertainment CEO Jim Martin and Nuggets community ambassador Mark Randall also were in attendance.

“We’re hopeful that sales of the signature license plates will allow us to increase our support of many worthy and much needed non-profits throughout the state,” said Deb Dowling, KSE vice president of community relations and fan development. “It also gives Nuggets and Avalanche fans a unique opportunity to show their loves for our teams.”