Denver Nuggets Win First NBA Championship in Franchise History
The Denver Nuggets made history on Monday night by winning their first NBA championship in the team’s 47-year history. The team’s owner, Stan Kroenke, who is worth an estimated $12.9 billion, was presented with the championship trophy by Commissioner Adam Silver. This victory marks Kroenke’s fourth championship in 18 months, following championship runs by the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, and the National Lacrosse League’s Colorado Mammoth.
Kroenke, who rarely speaks to reporters and is widely known as « Silent Stan, » expressed his gratitude to the fans of Denver for their support. As chairman of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the 75-year-old billionaire owns two other pro sports teams, the English Premier League’s Arsenal FC and Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids, as well as an esports organization and a regional sports network. Forbes valued KSE’s sports assets at $12.75 billion in January, making it the world’s largest privately held sports empire and the second-most-valuable overall, after John Malone’s publicly traded Liberty Media.
Despite owning several teams in his portfolio, this latest championship must be particularly sweet for Kroenke. When he bought the Nuggets in 2000, he told the Denver Post that owning a professional basketball team was a dream he had for a long time. Kroenke fell in love with the sport on a gravel court in tiny Mora, Missouri, where he eventually played for his high school team as a shooting guard.
Kroenke’s Controversial Reign
Kroenke’s reign as a sports mogul has not been without controversy. He faced backlash and a lawsuit after he moved the Rams back to Los Angeles in 2016, with St. Louis arguing that the process violated the NFL’s relocation guidelines and constituted a breach of contract. In a settlement in November 2021, Kroenke and the NFL agreed to pay the city and its lawyers $790 million. Kroenke has also been criticized during his tenure at Arsenal, which was a key member in the failed plan to form a « European Super League, » and The Guard reportedly laid off nearly all of its staff in February.
Meanwhile, most Denver-area fans have been unable to watch locally broadcast Nuggets and Avalanche games for nearly four years because of a dispute between Altitude Sports & Entertainment, Kroenke’s regional sports network, and cable company Comcast, as well as Dish Network. That has not been an issue during the nationally televised playoffs, though, and Denver fans can now bask in the glow of an NBA championship—at least until next season.
In conclusion, the Denver Nuggets’ victory in the NBA finals marks a historic moment for the franchise and its owner, Stan Kroenke. Despite owning several teams in his portfolio, this championship must be particularly sweet for Kroenke, who fell in love with basketball on a gravel court in Missouri and dreamed of owning a professional basketball team. However, Kroenke’s reign as a sports mogul has not been without controversy, with lawsuits and criticism surrounding his ownership of the Rams and Arsenal, as well as a dispute over locally broadcast games in Denver. Nonetheless, Kroenke’s sports empire remains the world’s largest privately held and a testament to his success in the industry.
Keywords: Denver Nuggets, NBA championship, Stan Kroenke, sports empire, controversy, Arsenal, Los Angeles Rams.
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