Ten Denver sports moments we'll remember (sometimes against our wishes) from 2008.
10. The Birdman flies back into Denver
Reserve center and reformed party addict Chris "The Birdman" Anderson re-joined the Nuggets this year after a two-year suspension for an unspecified violation (cocaine). He's not the second coming of Shaq -- he's not even the second coming of himself -- but he dunks and blocks a bunch of shots, and sometimes he acts like a bird when he does it, so he makes the list.
9. Being a Bronco running back becomes the most dangerous job in the world
After Sunday's embarrassing loss to the Bills, the Broncos announced they were putting running backs P.J. Pope and Selvin Young on injured reserve. And that made it official: More than being an Alaskan deep sea fisherman or Tara Reid's OB/GYN, being a Broncos running back is the most dangerous job in America. The Broncos have now put running backs Pope, Young, Andre Hall, Ryan Torain, Michael Pittman, Peyton Hillis and Anthony Alridge on IR, and who knows when the devastation will end? (Actually, I do: On Sunday).
8. Joe Sakic learns that working a snowblower is harder than scoring 1600-plus points
I know Joe Sakic has been in the league for 19 years, is a guaranteed hall-of-famer, two-time Stanley Cup winner, MVP, 742-time all-star, and an all-around badass but ... really?!? A snowblower? Sakic was sidelined for three months after breaking three fingers when he tried to unclog (or something) his snowblower. Seriously, dude, you're a hockey player, and a pretty important one to the reeling Avs. Couldn't you just hire Tatum Bell to shovel your drive?
7. Brandon Marshall can't spin, juke or power past a McDonald's bag
Marshall has evolved into a bona fide beast, one of the hardest receivers in the league to take down. Unless, of course, you are the formidable duo of a Big Mac wrapper and a television set. Marshall was out for most of the offseason after injuring himself while roughhousing. He apparently slipped on the wrapper and tried to catch his fall on a TV, but his beastly man-arm went right through, severing an artery, vein, nerve and tendons to five muscles. Luckily he was back by the season opener. And by "back," I mean suspended.
Only a few games into the Nuggets season, the team made the ballsy trade of Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups. Billups went to George Washington High School and the University of Colorado, and played with the Nuggets earlier in his career. Mr. Big Shot has rapidly helped turn the Nuggets around, giving them much-needed leadership, defense, and the willingness to not shoot every time the ball touches his hands.
5. Matt Holliday takes a permanent holiday from the Rockies
Their miraculous World Series run aside, the Rockies have been painful to watch for most of their existence. Their owners, the Monforts, seem to "rebuild" every year, and I think I speak for the average Rockies fan when I say, "FUCK YOU, FUCK, SERIOUSLY? FUCKIN FUCK." I'm paraphrasing, of course.
I know this may just be an investment for you, Monforts, but this city would really enjoy and appreciate a consistently halfway decent team. Seriously, if you're going to trade away all our talent, at least send out condolence cards and gift baskets (include whiskey and sedatives, please) to everyone who ever bought a ticket to a game.
God it feels good to have that off my chest.
4. Sasha pommels other countries
Although there were plenty of Olympic qualifiers from Colorado, gymnast Sasha Artemev had the topsy-turvy story of being favored to be on the men's gymnastic team, then failing to make it, but then, after both Hamm brothers got hurt, he was thrust into the event. His showy and completely insane pommel horse routine secured a very improbable bronze for the men's team. Not on most fans' radars, I realize, but I'm putting this on the list because it was damn exciting, and because it's getting kind of depressing in here.
3. Melo gets suspended ...
Carmelo Anthony was arrested in April on suspicion of drunk driving, and eventually suspended by the team for the first two games of this season. It may not seem like a big deal - after all, DUIs have replaced the illegitamate child as the fuck-up de jour in pro sports -- but at the time, after getting battered and then deep-fried by the Lakers in the playoffs, it seemed remarkably lame. The hen cut his hair, and for totally unsatisfactory reasons. Not cool, man.
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2. ... but also ties an NBA record
On December 10th, after an ugly first half, Melo went all score-tastic on the Timberwolves, putting up 33 in the third quarter and tying an NBA record for points in a single quarter, a record set in 1978 by George Gervin. It's the sort of dominance he's showed flashes of, but this was more than a flash. It was a flaming burst of superiority that wouldn't have been possible with Iverson jacking up 98 shots a quarter.
1. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall say 'Aloha'
The Broncos may be more temperamental than a spoiled pimple-popper on My Super Sweet 16, but they've given fans what will likely be a long-lasting gift in Marshall and Cutler, both selected to their first career Pro Bowls. Sure, it'd be nice if they could put it together when it counts: On Sunday against the Chargers. That might be a memory that lurches to the top of this list. But even if they don't (and they probably won't), they give Denver sports fans hope for 2009. -- Tyler Nemkov
Did we miss something? Do our selections make us seem higher than the Birdman circa '05? Let us know in the comments below.