Nuggets parade: Follow along as Denver celebrates the first-time NBA champions

Nikola Jokic just wants to go home, but a lot of Denverites will be out and about.
13 min. read
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

12:32 p.m. -- Nikola Jokic decided he wants to stay on parade, but today's festivities are all wrapped up

Thanks for hanging out with us! If Michael Malone gets what he wants, we'll see you again next year.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic gestures during a rally to celebrate the Denver Nuggets first NBA basketball championship Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Denver.
Jack Dempsey/AP Photo
Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky gestures during a rally to celebrate the Denver Nuggets first NBA basketball championship Thursday, June 15, 2023, in Denver.
Jack Dempsey/AP Photo

More Denverite and CPR stories about the Nuggets:

As Nuggets climb toward NBA championship, vintage merch skyrockets around Denver

Nuggets 101: A quick guide for new fans

Nikola Jokic is a baller for the Nuggets. To Denver Serbians, he's even bigger

Commentary: The Denver Nuggets are in the NBA Finals ... and I always believed

For the Denver Nuggets to reach the NBA Finals, Stan Kroenke played the long game

Mile-High NBA advantage: Denver altitude helps Nuggets go unbeaten at home in playoffs

12:14 p.m. -- 'I wouldn't miss it for the world'

Yazeed Saajid drove up from Colorado Springs with his son Khalid Callum and his cousin Anthony Watkins.

"My grandma taught me early to represent for the home team. I'm a longtime Nuggets fan bro," Saajid said. "Spent a bunch of money, got the whole family shirts, I called off work man, I wouldn't miss it for the world."

(Left to right) Yazeed Saajid, Khalid Callum and Anthony Watkins.
Isaac Vargas/Denverite

Saajid turns 40 in July, and he's been telling his 16-year-old son just how long it's taken to finally win the franchise's first title. Callum said he thought his dad would be crying by now.

"It's good to celebrate with my dad, it's just good to see him finally get his," Callum said.

-- Denverite Reporter Isaac Vargas

12:01 p.m. -- 9News and other local outlets are streaming the rally live

11:58 a.m. -- One of the firetrucks in the parade hit a Denver police officer

The officer has been hospitalized with serious injuries.

11:54 a.m. -- The parade is wrapping up, and the rally will begin soon

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Jamal Murray sprays some champagne.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

-- Denverite Photographer Kevin J. Beaty

11:42 a.m. -- The feats of athleticism aren't over just because the series is

10:57 a.m. -- Aaron Gordon, DeAndre Jordan and Jeff Green celebrate

Aaron Gordon juggles a ball and a beer.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
DeAndre Jordon has the bubbles.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Jeff Green greets the crowd.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Jeff Green greets the crowd.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

-- Denverite Photographer Kevin J. Beaty

10:45 a.m. -- The parade is in full swing

Jamal Murray chugs and Nikola Jokic grins.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
The firetruck carrying Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic (and his daughter) departs Union Station.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Coach Michael Malone celebrates.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

-- Denverite Photographer Kevin J. Beaty

10:37 a.m. -- Next generation Nuggets fans

South Denver native Ricky Garcia attended today's parade with his 2-year-old daughter Kyrie who excitedly ran around the park in her Jokic t-shirt.

"I want her to be able to grow up and be like, 'Yeah, I was at the Nuggets parade when we won our first championship,' even though she might not remember it."

Ricky Garcia and his 2-year-old daughter Kyrie.
Isaac Vargas/Denverite

Garcia said he's just excited the city finally won their first title after years of trying.

-- Denverite Reporter Isaac Vargas

10:32 a.m. -- The champagne is flowing

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

-- Denverite Photographer Kevin J. Beaty

10:21 a.m. -- Alberto Portalatin came in Joker regalia

Alberto Portalatin in uniform.
Tony Gorman/CPR News

-- Tony Gorman

10:15 a.m. -- 'This is a good time today'

John Lovato remembers a lot of great former Denver Nuggets players.

"I've been following them since Byron Beck, Spencer Haywood," Lovato recalled while waiting for the rally at Civic Center Park. "I can name Marcus Camby, Alex English, Carmelo Anthony. We have such great players here."

John Lovato is ready for the rally at Civic Center Park.
Paolo Zialcita/CPR News

He thinks the Nuggets will have even more championships to celebrate in the coming years. His advice to new fans? Enjoy the day for what it is.

"It's a good day for me," Lovato said. "And to be with all the people here enjoying ourselves, because there's times in your life where there's a lot of sadness and a lot of good times too. So this is a good time today."

-- Paolo Zialcita

10:10 a.m. -- And they're off!

You can watch here.

-- CPR Editor Alex Scoville

10:08 a.m. -- 'Right after dinner, there was basketball on'

Rodney Alire and his daughter Asia drove 3.5 hours from Grand Junction this morning to attend today's parade.

Rodney, a lifelong fan of the Nuggets, remembers watching players like Dikembe Mutombo and Carmelo Anthony with his family.

Rodney Alire and his daughter Asia from Grand Junction.
Isaac Vargas/Denverite

"It means a lot because growing up, this was our bonding time. Right after dinner, there was basketball on and we'd all be inside watching it. Seeing this happen, it's awesome," Asia said.

-- Denverite Reporter Isaac Vargas

10:05 a.m. -- Arika Graham and Amon White came in signed practice jerseys

"Broncos got two, (Nuggets) got one, the Avs got two. We just need the Rockies to come on and get one," White said.

Friends Arika Graham and Amon White with signed practice jerseys from this year’s championship roster.
Isaac Vargas/Denverite

-- Denverite Reporter Isaac Vargas

9:56 a.m. -- The parade is about to begin, and the fans are ready

Hank Reebes celebrates.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Nuggets fans are already pumped before the parade starts.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Eyes on Union Station, where the Nuggets bus will kick off the parade.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
(Left to right) Beau, 8, Max, 11, and Liam, 11, are all smiles.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Nuggets fans get excited before the parade kicks off.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Everyone's excited to see the first-time NBA champions.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

-- Denverite Photographer Kevin J. Beaty

9:48 a.m. -- The furry mayor of Georgetown is here

"He's a big Nuggets fan," human Dustin Schaefer said.

Dustin Schaefer and Parker the Snow Dog came from Georgetown, where Parker is honorary mayor.
Tony Gorman/CPR News

9:41 a.m. -- It's a parade party

Anna Ramirez is working on a starting lineup.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
The parade area is filling up on 17th Street.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
(Left to right) Darian Sanchez, Max Trujillo, Jennifer Cowan and Megan Valdez party at the parade.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

-- Denverite Photographer Kevin J. Beaty

9:22 a.m. -- As predicted, traffic looks a hot mess around Downtown.

If you don't need to head downtown this morning, stay home. If you're trying to make it to the parade, good luck!

The Colorado Department of Transportation's traffic map shows a sea of red through downtown, largely due to the various street closures planned for the parade route and everyone trying to claim a good viewing spot of the team bus.

The streets south of Civic Center Park, where the parade route ends, are also a bit of a mess all the way down to 6th Avenue. It's recommended that you park outside the core of downtown and walk to the parade route.

Expect that to be the case until celebrations clear out.

-- Denverite Editor Obed Manuel

9:17 a.m. -- It's a Nuggets fans round-up

Riley Ottolenghi (left) is a lifelong Nuggets fan from Fort Collins. Rafa Mara is from the UK and a new basketball fan.
Tony Gorman/CPR News

Riley Ottolenghi: "The fact that the Nuggets brought it home this year is amazing. It just shows that Denver is a really big community and we can all come together and celebrate something we can all agree on."

Rafa Mara: "I didn't know much about basketball before I came here. But, it's hard not to resist it once you're here. The atmosphere is great. I'm here to witness history."

Evan Chartier from Brighton is a lifelong Nuggets fan.
Tony Gorman/CPR News

Evan Chartier: "It's insane. It's something that we always wanted and thought it was impossible. Now, we get to enjoy it. It's incredible man!"

David Glowczewski of Pine, Colorado, came with his daughter and grandson.
John Daley/CPR News

David Glowczewski: "We need all this after the COVID. It's nice to be out and just celebrating something special."

9:05 a.m. -- "This feels like a dream. Pinch us!"

Cindy Gomez, Jasmine Esquivel and EJ love that the Nuggets players seem like genuinely good people.

"This is history in the making," Esquivel said as the family searched for the perfect spot to watch the parade.

(From left to right) EJ, Jasmine Esquivel and Cindy Gomez got to the parade area at 7 a.m.
Rachel Estabrook/CPR News

Gomez, who's a Denver native, recalled watching Monday's championship-clinching victory on TV.

"I was crying and praying and I was so afraid (that they wouldn't win). This feels like a dream. Pinch us!"

EJ, who's 8, watched Game 5 at home. When the Nuggets won, he called Esquivel and asked if he could go watch the fireworks downtown. She said no. But today, the family was out early this morning, before 7 a.m.

-- Rachel Estabrook

8:54 a.m. -- This guy came from Detroit to sell t-shirts

Diante Wilson promises he's a Nuggets fan, though.

Diante Wilson with one of the shirts he's selling at the Nuggets parade.
Rachel Estabrook/CPR News

-- Rachel Estabrook

8:45 a.m. -- A tattoo tribute to the Nuggets and to a dad

Melissa Alire-Chavez claimed her spot along the orange barricades around 7 a.m. She's been a season ticket holder since 2016, and says she's had to carefully manage her finances to continue to afford them for herself and her sons.

The Nuggets mean a lot to Alire-Chavez: she shared the passion with her father, who passed away during the 2022-2023 season.

Melissa Alire-Chavez at her spot along the orange barricades.
Rachel Estabrook/CPR News

She says the only game she missed this year was the day her dad died.

"It's hard to see that he didn't make it to see this moment," she said.

Last night, she got a new tattoo of a butterfly. One side is colored in with her dad's fingerprint, the other side is painted Nugget's blue and yellow.

-- Rachel Estabrook

8:25 a.m. -- These fans got their spot at 4 a.m.

Randy Contreras and Jayden Vigil got to Civic Center Park at 4 a.m.

Neither are used to being up that early, being young kids and all. But for this celebration, they'd do anything to grab a good spot to see their heroes.

It's like Christmas morning for Randy Contreras (left) and Jayden Vigil.
Paolo Zialcita/CPR News

"I didn't go to sleep last night," 13-year-old Contreras said.

The two, along with their families, were set up right on Broadway overlooking the Capitol. Contreras was dribbling a basketball that he hoped the team would be able to sign. When I asked Vigil who he wanted to see most, his eyes lit up and he grinned.

"I wanna see Joker," he said. "Me and my dad love him, so I wanna see him so bad. I wanna get his autograph on my shirt."

-- Paolo Zialcita

8:12 a.m. -- He was a Denver Rocket and Denver Nugget

Ralph Simpson and other legacy players are sharing in the team's success.

Listen to their journey on Colorado Matters.

FILE - Denver Nuggets' Bobby Jones, second left, Nets' Julius Erving, fourth left, and New York Nets' Jim Eakins, right, battle for a rebound during the ABA championship playoff game at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., on May 14, 1976. The Denver Nuggets are the last of the four ABA teams that merged with the NBA to reach the Finals and is stirring up fond memories of the defunct league. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Richard Drew/AP

8:10 a.m. -- Parade Day traffic and transportation report

RTD will run service to the parade and Civic Center Park, but it will close the station there during the parade. The agency announced the following schedule alterations:

  • D and H lines will be rerouted to Theater District/Convention Center and will not serve the Colfax at Auraria Station through the downtown loop
  • L Line service will be suspended during the parade
  • Many bus routes will be detouring, including routes 0, 1, 6, 8, 9, 10, 15, 15L, 16, 19, 20, 28, 32, 38, 43, 44, 48, 52, 83L
  • Civic Center Station will be closed during the parade
  • Free MallRide service will be suspended during the parade

Recommended travel plans can be found on the Nuggets website.

More you need to know..

-- CPR Reporter Paolo Zialcita 

8:09 a.m. -- Victims of shooting are expected to recover

Monday's revelry turned to violence in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Our reporters were in the area moments before a shooting occurred. Police say the violence was not related to the celebrations and was a drug deal gone bad. Ten people were shot, including a suspect. Everyone is expect to survive.

-- CPR Editor Alejandro Alonso Galva

8:07 a.m. -- When the streets were full of celebration.

Monday night was one to remember in Denver. A photo album of the joy and chaos in the Mile High.

-- CPR Photographer Hart Van Denburg

8:06 a.m. -- What you need to know about the parade

The schedule:

  1. 9 a.m. Pre-rally festivities officially begin. However, some folks will have been there all morning at this point. GRiZ, Big Gigantic, and Paws The Music (the Ball Arena DJ) are performing live. A live stream of the parade will play at the park alongside season highlights.
  2. 10 a.m. The parade starts at Union Station. From there, the team bus will continue down 17th Street for about a mile, before turning onto Broadway. The parade will end at Civic Center Park about two hours after starting.
  3. After the parade: At the park, the City and County of Denver will present a special program to honor the champs. In addition to players, coach and management, outgoing Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and other city officials will be at the rally.

Some quick tips:

  • It'll happen rain or shine.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Bring a hat.
  • Bring your own water.
  • Drink that water!
  • Wear comfy shoes, chairs aren't allowed.

More info from the Nuggets. And here's a map:

The Denver Nuggets championship parade and rally route.
Via the Denver Nuggets

-- CPR and Denverite staff

8 a.m. -- It's a party, a parade and a celebration 47 years in the making.

The Denver Nuggets are NBA Champions for the first time in franchise history. And today fans from across Colorado and beyond are descending upon downtown Denver to get in on the fun.

Officials are expecting "hundreds of thousands" of fans. Expect downtown Denver to a scene as horns, sirens, cheers, chants and sheer joy echo through the city.

Here's how we got here.

Here's how the Nuggets took hold of destiny.

And here's why we always believed this day would come.

-- CPR Editor Alejandro Alonso Galva

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