In his playing days, Dan Issel was the most beloved Denver Nugget of them all, and his 27,482 career points rank him seventh among all ABA/NBA scorers. But Issel's two stints as the Nuggets' head coach were stormy and stressful -- losing always hurts -- and on the night of December 11, after dropping a squeaker to the Charlotte Hornets, Issel's notorious temper got the best of him when a Pepsi Center heckler caught his ear on the way to the locker room. From the Horse's mouth came the most incendiary exit line in Denver pro-sports history: "Go drink another beer, you Mexican piece of shit." The day after Christmas, Issel was out, and the sorry franchise's troubled history continued apace.


The same night he chose to reach out and insult somebody was the night that now-ex-Nuggets coach Dan Issel was being memorialized with a free bobblehead doll. No telling what those limited-edition souvenirs will fetch on eBay; we're not parting with ours. In fact, we're looking for a bobblehead-sized sombrero to give Dan more ethnic appeal.


Few took the art of learning to hit a baseball as seriously as Troy Slinkard, an Evergreen contractor who's set up a virtual batting lab at his home. Fathers eager to have their sons learn the secret of squarely striking a round ball with a round bat make the pilgrimage to Slinkard's home, and he rarely refuses an earnest request.
You know you can bat at batting cages. But at Slammers, it's also possible to fine-tune the pitcher's art. A hurler can rent one of the indoor tunnels and get back in the groove -- even during snowboarding season. If you want to learn to throw the spitter, though, it's BYO slippery-elm juice.


Shakespeare's is already a known mecca for those handy with a cue, but this pool hall is really on the ball when it comes to billiards. An informal college of experts usually gathers Saturday and Sunday mornings to play, trade stories and introduce newcomers to the refined game.


If you're ready to move your darts game out of the rec room and into a real arena, take aim at Mirage Sports Bar. With thirteen boards, it's hard to miss. Fridays feature a blind draw for competition, and there are also leagues for passionate dart buffs. Get the point?


There are many reasons to visit this hallowed haunt, but fanatics head to the Campus Lounge for its foosball table. At night it's so popular, you may have to get in line for table access -- which means more brews for you as you wait your turn.


The brothers Zwisler grew up in Indiana, playing Ping-Pong in the basement of a convent. When they migrated to Colorado -- Marty to build custom houses and Ray to make custom wood furniture -- they maintained their love of the game. Several years ago, in fact, they decided to build a conference table that could also be used for Ping-Pong, and the idea caught on. While the price -- ranging from $5,000 to $8,000 each -- may put these tables out of the realm of the average rumpus room, Ray says that it's reasonable for corporate furniture. And with clients like Allstate Insurance, it may not be long before a bounce in the economy signals a bounce in sales.


There's only one Ping-Pong table at Harvey Park, and it isn't even set up all the time. Yet staffers at this friendly rec center are happy to set it up on request.


Gameworks, it's not. Still, the colossal arcade inside this Dave & Buster's food-and-fun franchise is where local video game junkies find their tastiest fix. Serious players know to hit D&B's on the weekdays, when the only crowds are of businessmen clustered around the Golden Tee golf machines. Beware Friday and Saturday nights, when youthful hordes descend and a $5 cover charge fleeces the suckers after 10 p.m. During happy hour (Monday through Thursday, 4:30 to 7 p.m.), drinks are half price, and one hour of unlimited play costs just $10 with a "power hour" card. Since it's easy to blow through a twenty here in half that time, it's a bargain. Take full advantage of the repeat play on new, tough-to-master games like TsuMo, a hydraulic first-person shooter in which you repel an armed beach invasion from a machine-gun nest. Alternate title: "Killing Private Ryan."


Best Of Denver®

Best Of