We Love the (Nuggets) 80s: Bill Hanzlik

by Christopher Dempsey
Nuggets Insider
@chrisadempsey

Bill Hanzlik is omnipresent.

Look to the left, and he’s dishing basketball analysis on Altitude Sports. Look right, and he’s doing any number of things in the community, most notably as the CEO of the wildly successful Gold Crown Foundation.

Truth be told, Hanzlik has always been everywhere. For as long as anyone can remember, he’s been a 6-foot-7 ball of kinetic energy. Never stop. Never stop. Never stop. Hanzlik’s constant energy on the basketball court quickly endeared him to the Nuggets fan base. His willingness to stick his nose into any situation with little regard for his well-being made him a cult legend.

Hanzlik took pride in being the pest. Hard-nosed defense was his calling card. Being in optimal shape to run all game long was a priority. That’s why his marriage with the Nuggets was a combination that worked. Playing at altitude suited his game. Playing in Doug Moe’s up-tempo offense accentuated all of the little things he brought to the court.

“I took a lot of pride in playing defense and I trained really hard,” Hanzlik told Nuggets.com in 2011. “I was always physically in great shape, and that’s why Denver was such a good fit.”

Originally drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in 1980 with the 20th overall selection, Hanzlik was traded to the Nuggets in 1982.

He spent the rest of his career in Denver as a key contributor to some of the most successful teams in Nuggets history. Hanzlik’s best statistical seasons were in 1985-86 (12.5 points per game), and 1986-87 (13.0 points per game).

But he did a little bit of everything, as evidenced by his presence all over the Nuggets franchise record book. Hanzlik is fourth in games played (593), eighth in assists (1,764), ninth in steals (588), and ninth in free throws made (1,439) and attempted (1,845).

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