SO SAD: Denver Nuggets star player Nikola Jokic has been suspended from all sport activities for playing a bet against……

DENVER — Poor Aaron Gordon.

When the Denver Nuggets’ big man arrives in Minneapolis on Wednesday, with the defending champions poised to close out their Western Conference semifinals series against the Timberwolves—a series that seemed bleak not long ago—his teammates will head to their favorite local steakhouse without him ahead of Game 6. Despite being immensely valuable and universally loved, the 28-year-old is the only player excluded from the latest team-bonding event.

“DJ, are y’all going to the team dinner?” Gordon asked Nuggets veteran DeAndre Jordan across the locker room following their 112-97 victory in Game 5 at Ball Arena on Tuesday night, a win that marked their third consecutive and gave them a 3-2 series lead.

Jordan, the organizer of the players-only event that could become legendary if Denver advances, remained firm in his superstitious stance.

DENVER, CO - MAY 14: Aaron Gordon #50 of the Denver Nuggets looks on during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves during Round 2 Game 5 of the 2024 NBA Playoffs on May 14, 2024 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2024 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

“Yeah — not you though,” Jordan replied to Gordon. “We’ll see you next round (of the playoffs). Sorry, dawg. We’ll bring you some takeout though.”

Gordon, who had been despondent in this very locker room eight days earlier when the Nuggets were struggling, responded with a bright smile and a laugh.

“I understand,” Gordon said. “I understand.”

Why was Gordon excluded from the off-night camaraderie and fine dining with his teammates? He was the only player who missed the dinner in Minneapolis the previous Thursday when the Nuggets’ title defense was on shaky ground after two disastrous games against Minnesota. That gathering lifted their spirits at a crucial time.

You know what happened next. The Nuggets started playing like the Nuggets again—led by now three-time MVP Nikola Jokić—and dominated Game 3. With the belief that this dinner was the key to their turnaround, it was decided that Gordon would not be invited until their good fortune ran out.

So, they dined without him at the same restaurant again on Saturday night, then tied the series 2-2 the next evening at Target Center. As a result, Gordon will once again find himself alone in Minneapolis, and truth be told, he couldn’t be happier about it.

Is there a clearer sign that these Nuggets are determined to change the narrative? They’ve turned things around dramatically in these past three games, in a way rarely seen this time of year, and there’s no turning back now—no matter how many solo meals Gordon has to endure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *