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As the Denver Nuggets enter the NBA Finals for the first time in team history, longtime fans and bandwagoners alike need to arm themselves with the sort of 411 that even Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson would be hard-pressed to break out during the broadcasts. From Braun to Watson, here’s a lineup of trivial tidbits you can slide into the convo with Joker-like smoothness.
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- In Overland Park, Kansas, April 19 is officially Christian Braun Day, an honor bestowed upon the former University of Kansas Jayhawk (and NCAA Champion) by the City Council.
- As a junior in college, Braun started an apparel line of T-shirts and hoodies called the CB2 Collection. All of the merchandise bore his name and silhouette. Our fave tagline: Braun Eyed Girl.
- Oh, yeah—it’s pronounced “Brown.”
- Brown executed his first in-game dunk in the eighth grade.
- Despite an offer from blue-blood basketball program Indiana, Brown chose to play his college ball at the University of Miami.
- In college, the guard said he was modeling his game after NBA superstar Russell Westbrook.
- As a middle schooler, Bryant was already 6’1”. He grew eight inches in high school.
- Bryant only played 72 minutes his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
- During his sophomore year in 2013 with the University of Georgia, Caldwell-Pope was named the SEC Player of the Year.
- Caldwell-Pope’s wife, McKenzie (née Redmon), is a fashion influencer with 74,000 Instagram followers and 21,000 YouTube subscribers.
- If his Instagram posts are any indication, Čančar is a fan of Vince Lombardi—and Buddy the Elf.
- The 26-year-old was born in Koper, Slovenia.
- He played professionally in Slovenia, Serbia, and Spain before being drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 2019.
- As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Gordon’s great-great grandfather, a Native American Osage Indian, stood seven feet tall.
- His father, Ed Gordon, played ball at San Diego State University; his brother, Drew, played at UCLA and New Mexico; and his sister, Elise, hooped at Harvard.
- Like many Denverites, he comes to us from the San Francisco Bay Area; he played high school ball at Archbishop Mitty in San Jose.
- Known around the league as Uncle Jeff, the 36-year-old power forward says that the nickname comes from King James himself.
- Green left Georgetown before his senior season to enter the draft, but he spent the next four summers taking classes to earn his degree in English with a minor in theology.
- Green has played for 11 NBA teams in his career.
- Jackson became an American citizen in 2008; he’d been born in Italy to American parents.
- Jackson’s family moved to Colorado Springs when he was in the sixth grade; he graduated from General William J. Palmer High School and won the 2007–’08 Gatorade Colorado Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year.
- His nickname, Big Government, came courtesy of Clippers fans, who conferred the moniker for his ability to “bail them out” with clutch performances in critical games.
- His nickname, the Joker, was bestowed upon him by former teammate Mike Miller, who couldn’t pronounce it correctly as YO-kich.
- The 28-year-old, who married his high school girlfriend in 2020, ties his wedding ring into his shoelaces during games. Awwww…
- He loves to dribble the ball, and he’s so good at it that people said he was a point guard—even though he’s really a six-foot-11-inch center.
- He was born—and sometimes still lives—in Sambor, Serbia.
- Jordan holds the NBA record for highest career field goal percentage at .675.
- The 34-year-old is outspoken about his faith and has at least five Christian tattoos.
- In 2018, Jordan went vegan and even hosted a vegan cooking show called Cooking Clean.
- Murray was born in Ontario, Canada, to a mother of Syrian heritage and a father who was born in Jamaica.
- On February 19, 2021, Murray became the first player in NBA history to score 50 points without attempting a free throw.
- Murray offered his hot take on the best five NBA players of all time in May: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, Shaquille O’Neal, and LeBron James.
- The 22-year-old power forward has played piano since first grade.
- If Instagram posts are to be believed, Nnaji, who is from Minneapolis, is a fan of His Purpleness: singer-songwriter Prince, another son of the Twin Cities.
- Along with his family, Nnaji helped found the Nnaji Family Foundation, which has a mission to positively impact the lives of young people throughout Africa and the United States through education and athletics.
Michael Porter Jr.
- Porter Jr. played just 53 minutes during his college career at the University of Missouri.
- Famous quote: “There’s so many baddies in here, bro,” Porter Jr. said as he stared at University of Kentucky co-eds while sitting on the bench during a game.
- Porter Jr. took home the 2017 Gatorade High School Player of the Year award.
- Smith played for 13 NBA teams during his career, the most in league history. He played on 10 teams before he reached 30 years old.
- The 34-year-old has a degree in religion from Wake Forest University.
- Signed as a free agent out of college, it took Smith eight NBA seasons before he began earning $1 million per year.
- The 20-year-old small forward has a seven-foot wingspan
- The rookie from Beverly Hills, California, played in 23 games, started twice, and played an average of eight minutes per game this season.