2023 NBA Champs: New Ring, New Reputation

NBA Finals Nuggets Nicknames - Nikola Jokic MVP

Winning changes everything about a player’s reputation.

Just ask several members of the Denver Nuggets who will have a new label starting now. When you have been in the league for a long time, certain descriptions, whether good or bad, will be used on you over and over again.

For the following Nuggets, it will be a big relief that the word “champion” can be added and used to describe them.

The Dunker

When you see a picture of Aaron Gordon, what is the first thing that comes to mind? “The best dunker to never win a slam dunk title” after losing to Zach LaVine, right? Well, Gordon doesn’t care about that anymore because, in his mind, he already won the most important title that a player can earn. The chance to be called “NBA champion” doesn’t come around too often.

The Journeyman

You already know by now that Ish Smith is known as the “13 teams in 13 years” guy. (If you count his stop in the NBA Developmental League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, perhaps it’s actually “14 teams in 13 years.”) How did that happen? We won’t know until we ask those general managers who kept trading him away. The 2022-23 season marked his first stop in Denver and it turned out to be the best stop in his career.


According to a few hosts of those popular sports shows, Nikola Jokic did not deserve his MVP award because he hasn’t done anything yet. Well, he has a title now, so what more could you want from him? Jokic dominated the playoffs in every round. Those triple-doubles looked so easy that we are starting to take them for granted. Meanwhile, the Jokic doubters have gone silent.

The Supersonic

Jeff Green is usually known for two things. The first one? He was a Supersonic. Green was a member of the now-defunct Seattle team and was around when they became the Oklahoma City Thunder. The second thing is that Green had open-heart surgery, a procedure that saved his life and basketball career. After what he went through, it is only fitting that he became a champion.

Mr. Win Everywhere

Christian Braun won in high school, college, and now at the pro level. It has happened before, but what stands out is his high school career. Winning three state championships in a row in high school is hard to ignore. All in all, Braun won five titles in a span of seven years. Since he has a knack for winning, maybe Team USA should include him in international events like the Olympics and the Basketball World Cup.

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