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Denver’s sports teams have offered fans a few gifts lately, mainly inside Ball Arena where the Nuggets and Avalanche have both raised championship banners of late. But away from the hardcourt and ice, no matter how many letters we write to Santa, there are some things we can’t have: A second coming of Todd Helton. A 2026 World Cup game. A functional Broncos offense (hey, at least they finally beat the Chiefs). Alas, there are still many ways we can make the season bright for every local sports fan. Whether they’ve been spoiled by the Nuggets and Avalanche, or left wanting by the Rockies and Broncos, the biggest sports fans in your life will appreciate these local gifts.
Back in the 1980s, Rich Karlis was a household name in Denver—not just because he was the Broncos place-kicker. He was also the last of his kind, knocking in field goals and extra points barefoot. It wasn’t a gimmick: He made big-time kicks, including a game winner that sent the Broncos to the 1986 Super Bowl (don’t ask what happened next). These days, Karlis’ craft involves more hands than feet: He’s become an accomplished woodworker at his home outside of Parker. If you know a Broncos fan who needs a new cutting board (and is nostalgic for a better era of Denver football), we recommend one of Karlis’ models made out of cherry wood, walnut, or maple (starting at $55). Available online
Give One Year of 5280 for just $16.
In the franchise’s 30-year history, only one Rockies player, Larry Walker, has been inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame (though we’re hopeful Todd Helton will join him next summer). The lefty slugger spent 10 years in a Rockies uniform, where he hit more than 250 home runs, brought home three batting titles, and was named National League MVP in 1997. The plaque in Cooperstown describes Walker as “a dynamic right fielder with a feared plate presence who brought all-out effort and a five-tool skillset” to the game. If that has a nice ring to it, consider snagging a replica ($38) for your favorite baseball fan this holiday season. Available online
In the pandemonium that followed the Nuggets first NBA title in franchise history, you’d be forgiven if you forgot to save a copy of the Denver Post featuring a grinning Nikola Jokić holding his daughter as confetti fell from the rafters. Don’t fret: You can still make a gift of the iconic front page: The Post is selling framed reprints set behind plexiglass ($170), which is perfect for a Nuggets fan’s TV room or office. Available online
Metro Denver is lucky to have a few shops devoted to sports memorabilia, including Latitude Sports Marketing, which since 2005 has coordinated signings and appearances with some of the biggest names in Colorado sports. That list now includes the Avalanche stars who brought home the Stanley Cup in 2022, such as Cale Makar and Nathan MacKinnon. If you know a hockey fan who would appreciate a piece of history, consider picking up a puck signed by Makar ($150) or MacKinnon ($170)—or just stop in and browse the impressive collection. Latitude Sports Marketing, 2154 E Commons Ave. Unit #312, Centennial
So what if Denver got passed over as a host city for the World Cup? Mile High City fans of fútbol will just have to rally around the Colorado Rapids, the Major League Soccer club that’s been around for nearly three decades and has a dedicated fan base that could use a few more of us in its ranks. So, if you know a soccer fan who wants to don maroon and blue, or who just needs to refresh their kit, consider the “Up The Pids” scarf ($35) from DNVR, a local sports-media company making it easier to be a fan these days. Available online
You can feel Denver’s heartbeat when you walk into some shops. Sportsfan, on Federal Boulevard across from Empower Field, is one of them. Packed with jerseys, hats, and posters for every Mile High City team, the shop has been in business for 25 years, catering to game-day fans looking to support a local business with exclusive merchandise. This year they’re selling a custom white letterman jacket with blue sleeves and a retro Broncos logo on the chest ($250). You won’t find it anywhere else in town—it’s a rare gift you’ll have to buy in person (this isn’t the type of place with a website). Sportsfan, 1740 Federal Blvd.
Located on South Broadway just south of Evans Avenue, Bill’s Sports Memorabilia is another Denver throwback. For more than 40 years, it’s been the city’s leader in trading cards, and the store also carries a bevy of signed merchandise and other miscellaneous collectibles. Any Denver sports fan could kill an hour wandering around Bill’s, but if you’re looking for a cheap gift, consider picking up a few Rockies baseball cards (prices vary). With such a young squad, you never know how much some of those will turn out to be worth. Bill’s Sports Memorabilia, 2335 S. Broadway
The Nuggets had one of the league’s coolest logos and mascots when they first joined the NBA in the early ’70s. “Maxie the Miner,” a squat, bearded fellow who holds a pickaxe in one hand and a basketball in the other as he soars toward an invisible basket, came to define the early-era Nuggets. Maxie was eventually phased out, but he made a short comeback in the wake of last summer’s championship. You won’t want to miss an opportunity to snag some Maxie championship swag for your favorite Nuggets fan, and with this pint glass ($20), the DNVR crew has you covered. Available online
Since 1992, Mike’s Stadium Sportscards has been both a reliable trading card shop and the host of countless public autograph signings. One of the best things about Mike’s is that you can pre-purchase signings and send your gear ahead of time to get your favorite athlete’s signature. On December 9 at 1 p.m., former Broncos safety (and Super Bowl champion) T.J. Ward will be at Mike’s, and if you can discreetly “borrow” some gear from your favorite fan, a signature from Ward will only run you $50. Mike’s Stadium Sportscards, 4032 South Parker Road, Aurora
Since changing its name from the Pepsi Center, Ball Arena has been a hotspot for championships. We’ve covered the Nuggets and Avalanche. But Colorado is also home to a professional box lacrosse team, the Mammoth, which won the National Lacrosse League Cup in 2022. You knew that, right? Right. Well, if you want to learn more about the stadium—and get a peek inside the Mammoth home locker room—you can book a Ball Arena tour (prices vary), which makes a great gift for a group. Available online