The rumblings started early last season, when the Denver Nuggets became the first -- and only -- National Basketball Association team to add a Portuguese-translation page to its official team Web site.The catalyst for this linguistic link was rock-steady Brazilian rookie Nenê Hilario (now simply known as Nenê). The online onslaught that resulted virtually guaranteed that the 6' 11" center/forward would win any fan poll. International interest remained high, even as the team struggled to an NBA season record for fewest points scored per game.
This year's pre-season tremors have grown into an eruption of optimism, inspired by a revamped lineup headed by hotshot rookie forward Carmelo Anthony. So far, there's been nothing mellow about 'Melo and his mates. The Nugs are running and gunning, with a pre-season average that's already about sixteen points per game ahead of the offense's tepid total last year.
Not surprisingly, season-ticket sales are up, according to Nuggets spokesman Jonathan Goldstein. "We're not a championship contender yet, but we've made great strides," he says cautiously. After all, there are plenty of unknowns to consider before the team can clutch any season-ending hardware. Can Marcus Camby stay healthy for more than a month? Is Andre Miller really all that at guard?
Folks eager to see if the increased seismic activity will signal a landslide can witness the Nuggets at tonight's 7 p.m. Pepsi Center game against the highly regarded Sacramento Kings. For tickets, $10 to $250, log on to www. nuggets.com. Do it soon, though, because if this hardcourt avalanche is real, once-scorned Nuggets tix might become as hard to score as Avs ducats. And the phrase "Got two?" in Portuguese -- or any language -- could become a familiar refrain outside the arena. -- Ernie Tucker
Mountain Miser offers a blizzard of clinics
Get ready for the chilly season with today's Winter Mountaineering Clinic at Mountain Miser, where professional guides from Boulder's Alpine World Ascents will cover everything from winter camping to snow-climbing techniques and logistics. "All of our clinics are basically a free introduction to a sport," explains organizer Mike McCord. "We cover everything from the appropriate clothing and gear to safety and where to go."
Mountain Miser, at 209 West Hampden Avenue, Englewood, offers the informational gatherings every Wednesday evening from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Upcoming titles include Colorado Hut-to-Hut, Avalanche Awareness and Beacon Searching Technique.
"Obviously, these are hot topics here in Colorado, but a lot of people don't have any exposure to these sports," says McCord. "We want to be the place where you come to check them out and decide if you want to pursue these activities any further."
Mountain Miser also sponsors several Telemark Demo Days at Loveland Ski Area. For a complete schedule of upcoming events, visit www.mountainmiser.com or call 303-761-7070. -- Julie Dunn