DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Nuggets have won their first NBA championship since joining the league in 1976, but many players have made franchise history along the way.
Teams in the NBA, like many sports leagues, will retire a player’s number as a way to recognize their greatness and honor them for the rest of the team’s history.
When a number is retired, it typically means that no future player on that team can wear that number again.
#40 Byron Beck, 1967-1977
Beck only played one season in the NBA after several in the ABA, but it was a remarkable one. He was 6 feet, 9 inches tall playing center for the Nuggets from the beginning.
He played at the University of Denver and was the first player ever signed to the professional team when it became known as the Denver Rockets in 1967, according to the website Remember the ABA. In 1977, his number became the first to be retired by the team.
#44 Dan Issel, 1976-1985
Standing at 6 feet, 9 inches tall, Issel played center and became known as “The Horse.” In 1985 he retired as one of the greatest scorers in basketball history with 27,482 total points according to the NBA.
He played on University of Kentucky before joining the ABA on Kentucky colonel. Years after making a name for himself as a Nuggets player, he coached the team from 1992 to 1995 and again from 1999 to 2001, where he also served as the team’s general manager.
He was the first Nuggets player inducted into The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
#33 David Thompson, 1976-1982
The former guard was at North Carolina State University before playing for the Denver Nuggets. When he was in college, he could get his hands on one quarter of the back plate on a hangeraccording to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
He was a two-time college national player of the year, a four-time NBA All-Star and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996 after finishing his career with the Seattle Supersonics.
#2 Alex English, 1980-1990
He played forward for the Nuggets for a decade, setting 31 team records and marking first player in NBA to ever score 2,000 points in eight consecutive seasonsaccording to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
He played at the University of South Carolina before beginning his professional career that started with two years with the Milwaukee Bucks, then about three years with the Indiana Pacers before his time with the Nuggets. He finished his career with one season with the Dallas Mavericks.
He was an eight-time NBA All-Star. His number was retired in 1992 and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.
#55 The Little Mermaid, 1992-1996
After right three seasons at Georgetown Universitythe 7-foot-2-inch center started in the NBA as a first-round pick for the Denver Nuggets.
He is an eight-time NBA All-Star and has several awards and records in the league. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015 and his number was retired in 2016.
After his time with the Nuggets, he went on to play for the Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and finished his 19-year career with the Houston Rockets in 2009.
#12 Fat Liver, 1984-1990
Lafayette Lever attended Arizona State University before beginning his 11-year NBA career with the Portland Trail Blazers. He was considered one of the best point guards in the league while playing for the Nuggets in the late 1980s.
The two-time NBA All-Star finished his playing career with the Dallas Mavericks, but later returned to the game in 2007 as the director of player development for the Sacramento Kings.
Lever was surprised when his jersey was retired at a game in 2017, according to the NBA.
There have been no retired Denver Nuggets jersey numbers since 2017.