Denver Nuggets Starting Five

NBA Finals Denver Nuggets Legendary Rookie Cards

Date: Jun 12, 2023
Topics: Denver Nuggets, NBA Finals, Rookie Cards
Length: 803 Words
Reading Time: ~5 Minutes

Here come the champs!!! In 2023, Denver reached the mountaintop, winning its first NBA title in 47 years. While Nikola “Joker” Jokic, Jamaal Murray and a host of role players who fit like puzzle pieces will be celebrated for the rest of history, we’re taking time to shoutout a host of Nuggets legends whose rookie cards will also continuously pique interest. From Alex English’s graceful finesse to the electric talent of Carmelo Anthony, Denver housed several iconic players who have etched their names in basketball history, their rookie cards becoming treasured artifacts. Check out our legendary Nuggets starting Five and their Topps Rookie Cards.

Andre Miller, Denver Nuggets

Andre Miller started his career in Cleveland — hence the Cavaliers rookie card — before making a pit stop in Los Angeles and joining Denver in 2003. The eighth overall pick in 1999 spent eight seasons in the Mile High City between two different stints (2003-07 and 2007-11) and enjoyed incredible success with the Nuggets, using court vision akin to a crystal ball to finish his tenure in Denver ranked third on the franchise’s all-time assists lists (2,978). Many remember Miller for his dazzling dimes, turtle-like pace (he had a mean back-to-the-basket game), and durability – he played in all 82 games four times as a member of the Nuggets. His Topps Rookie Cards are a must-have for any collector.

Alex English Denver Nuggets

Check this out. Alex English was drafted in 1976 and played his first few seasons with the Bucks. But the 1979 Topps Alex English is considered by many as his Rookie Card despite the bucket-hungry baller being a few campaigns into what turned out to be a Hall of Fame career. After showing promise in his early years with Milwaukee and Indiana, the South Carolina native joined Denver in ’79 and let loose, leading the NBA in scoring during the 80s, winning the league’s scoring title in 1982-83, and spearheading the high-scoring Nuggets to nine consecutive playoff appearances. “Flick” was also the first NBA player to achieve eight successive 2,000-point seasons and owns several Denver records, including points (21,645), field goals (8,953), and games played (8,370). Before Carmelo Anthony, Mr. English lit up the Rocky Mountains with a mid-range game slicker than the slopes.

Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets

This card is a personal favorite and one of my favorite hoopers ever. In 2003, kids across the globe engaged in Carmelo vs. LeBron debates. A teenaged me rolled with Team Melo and even bought a pair of his Jordan Melo 1.5s. The Syracuse legend and No. 3 overall pick in 2003 became one of the 75 greatest players and pure scorers in the NBA and revitalized a Nuggets franchise that had been a tad dormant for some time. Now, to the card. 2003-04 Topps Finest Carmelo Anthony RC #163 Autograph #/999 has a pretty high print run, a notable sticker auto, and several parallels, including a gold refractor with just 25 prints. I might have to stop writing this mid-piece and search for one. It is a must-cop.

Antonio McDyess, Denver Nuggets

Injuries derailed NBA fans from enjoying Antonio McDyess’ prime for a long time. But man. His prime was a good time, especially if you had NBA Hangtime. The No. 2 pick in a 1995 draft class featuring Rasheed Wallace, Kevin Garnett, and several other notables names, McDyess spent his good years putting defenders on posters, causing a commotion inside arenas with thunderous dunks and even made an All-Star team in 2000-01 — his fourth season in Denver. This 1995-96 Topps Antonio McDyess #268 Rookie Card is pretty easy to find.

Dikembe Mutombo Denver Nuggets

If I’d left “Mt. Mutombo” off this list, I’d probably be envisioning his finger wag in my sleep. I made sure to avoid that mistake. Let’s be serious. What’s this list without the Nuggets’ franchise leader in blocks (1,486)? As a rookie in 1991-92, Mutombo furthered the reputation he built under John Thompson at Georgetown, continuing to protect the paint like a club bouncer and swatting shots on his way to his first All-Star appearance. The card above, the 1992 Topps #110 Dikembe Mutombo – All-Star card, which was released in 1992, commemorates Mutombo’s accomplishment and showcases a young, chiseled, All-Star posting up on the low block. Following this campaign, “Deke” led the league in blocks three times – all with Denver – earned two more All-Star invites as a Nugget, and polished off a career that landed him a spot in Springfield.

Bonus: George Karl, Denver Nuggets

Look who we have here. George Karl. The second-winningest coach in Nuggets history (423). Before Karl was Tweefing with Carmelo Anthony or even roaming the sidelines in Denver, he was lacing it up in San Antonio, ballin’ for the Spurs. This 1974-75 Topps George Karl #257 is considered George Karl’s Rookie Card and showcases a coaching legend before the suits. Check out the flow on a young “GK.”


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