In the world of professional basketball, jersey numbers often carry significant meaning and become intertwined with the legacy of a team’s most iconic players. For the Denver Nuggets, the number 15 has sparked a unique debate, with Carmelo Anthony and Nikola Jokić both leaving their indelible mark on the jersey. The controversy surrounding the number has recently come to light, shedding light on the intriguing dynamics within the Nuggets organization.
Carmelo Anthony, the first NBA superstar to don the No. 15 jersey for the Denver Nuggets, became synonymous with the Mile High City during his tenure. His impact on the team, including multiple playoff appearances and a memorable run to the 2009 Western Conference finals, solidified his connection with the number. However, a recent podcast episode featuring Anthony reveals a surprising twist in the story.
In a candid discussion on his “7 PM in Brooklyn” podcast, Carmelo Anthony disclosed his thoughts on why the Nuggets handed Nikola Jokić the No. 15 jersey. Anthony suggested that the decision was not a mere coincidence or a result of available options but rather a deliberate and, in his words, “petty maneuver.” He emphasized that the choice of giving Jokić the iconic No. 15 was a sign of disrespect and an attempt to erase his contributions to the team.
Anthony delved into the history, referencing his trade to the New York Knicks in 2011 and the subsequent reports of his dissatisfaction with Denver. He expressed his belief that the decision to give away his old number further perpetuated the narrative that he was a “disgruntled” athlete who didn’t appreciate his time in the mid-market city. Anthony viewed the gesture as a disrespectful move aimed at undermining his legacy with the Nuggets.
In response to Anthony’s claims, the podcast hosts, Anthony and Mero, pointed to Nikola Jokić’s seemingly nonchalant attitude. They argued that Jokić, known for his laid-back demeanor, might not have cared about the significance of the number and wore it simply because of its availability. However, Anthony remained firm in his belief that the intentional act was a “slap in the face” and an attempt to erase his impact.
Considering Anthony’s international reach as an Olympic athlete and face of the NBA, the hosts speculated on Jokić’s intention to possibly show respect by wearing the No. 15. Anthony acknowledged this perspective but insisted that, in his view, the gesture was more about erasing his legacy than paying homage.
Contrary to Anthony’s claims, it’s revealed that Nikola Jokić has a history with the No. 15 jersey dating back to his youth basketball days in Serbia. According to The Athletic, Jokić first wore the number because he was the largest player on the team, and the No. 15 jersey was the largest available.
The drama surrounding the No. 15 jersey for the Denver Nuggets adds an intriguing layer to the team’s history. Whether it was a calculated move to erase Carmelo Anthony’s legacy or a mere coincidence, the jersey number debate highlights the emotional connections players have with their numbers and the impact it can have on a team’s narrative. As fans eagerly watch both Anthony and Jokić continue their respective journeys, the significance of No. 15 for the Denver Nuggets remains an unresolved and captivating storyline.