Nuggets, Avalanche Players Come Out for Charity Night at Pepsi Center

The ice sculptures were on point for the Mile High Dreams Gala.
The ice sculptures were on point for the Mile High Dreams Gala. Conor McCormick-Cavanagh
Sports fans know Denver as a football town. Although their losing record may not show it right now, the Broncos have built a legacy of winning championships. But on the night of Monday, November 12, Denver shed its rep as a football town as all eyes focused on the Nuggets and Avalanche.

That's because players from those two teams, plus members of the Colorado Rapids soccer team and the Colorado Mammoth box lacrosse team, came together for a charity fundraiser at their home arena, the Pepsi Center. The Mile High Dreams Gala brought out sports fans, media personalities and Denver's high society for a night whose proceeds went toward Kroenke Sports Charities. After paying $250 for a VIP ticket and $150 for general admission, they got to hang out with Denver's most talented ice skaters and its tallest residents.

The Nuggets and Avalanche players certainly were the stars of the night...though, admittedly, it wasn't easy to spot players from the Mammoth and the Rapids. Hockey players were a bit easier to locate, as there was a smattering of young men with wide shoulders and mustaches. (It's still unclear if these mustaches are being grown ironically or because the players can't grow beards like some of their elders in the NHL.)

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Charity gambling, without money, provided attendees with plenty of fun.
Conor McCormick-Cavanagh
Basketball players were by far the most noticeable athletes at the event...even Isaiah Thomas, the 5'9" point guard who's still waiting to play his first game in a Nuggets uniform. Thomas's uncanny smile, not his height — or lack thereof — gave him away. His dentist should win awards.

Sympathy should go out to any tall man in attendance not blessed with dribbling abilities. There were two ways these (un)lucky guys could have played it when approached by attendees hoping to get 150 likes on their newest Instagram post: 1) admit that they weren't actually on the Nuggets, or 2) smile and wave and take the picture, trolling their way to semi-celebrity status on someone's Instagram page.

All joking aside, the event raised close to $100,000 for commendable programs like Special Olympics of Colorado and the Denver Public Schools Foundation, according to Deb Dowling, executive director of Kroenke Sports Charities. In its tenth year, the charity gala brought out newer players, such as Michael Porter Jr., but also some Denver veterans like Gary Harris, who was happy to be hanging out with other Denver athletes.

"It's cool for us to come together and interact with other friends and colleagues," said Harris, between toasts at the bar with his teammates — who have the Nuggets in a pretty good place, sitting at 9-4 for the year. "This event does it the right way and is going to a great cause."
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Conor McCormick-Cavanagh is a staff writer at Westword, where he covers a range of beats, including local politics, immigration and homelessness. He previously worked as a journalist in Tunisia and loves to talk New York sports.