The Denver Nuggets are enjoying a much needed break as All Star Weekend arrives, or at least everyone except Nikola Jokic is getting a break. Joker meanwhile is in Indianapolis to participate in the All-Star game. No other Nuggets made the All Star teams, nor were any of them invited to any of the other AS competitions such as the three-point contest, dunk contest, skills challenge and rising stars game. That won’t stop us from reminiscing though as we look back at some of the notable Nuggets performances on the big weekend.

Voshon Lenard wins the Three Point Contest

Only one Nuggets player has ever won an All Star weekend competition and that would be Voshon Lenard. He came to the Nuggets during the dark ages at the turn of the century, left for Toronto for one season, and then came back to Denver for two more seasons (though one was almost entirely lost due to an achilles injury). In the first year of his second stint in Denver (2004) Lenard was invited to the three-point contest and pulled off one of the bigger upsets in the history of the competition. He bested two time reigning champ Peja Stojakovic, one of the greatest three point sharpshooters ever, and claimed the title. Despite being injured the next year, Lenard returned to defend his title in the three point contest but was unable to do so as Quentin Richardson claimed the crown. Other Nuggets to participate in three point contest: Michael Adams (1989), Dale Ellis (1997), Chauncey Billups (2010).

Kenneth Faried dominates the Rising Stars game

The Rising Stars game is even more of an exhibition than the All Star game with basically no defense even being considered to be played. That worked perfectly for Kenneth Faried who was a high flying dunk machine. When given the ample open space of the Rising Stars game, Faried had everything he needed to score at will. He finished lobs from the likes of Ricky Rubio, Isaiah Thomas & Bradley Beal. He even got a three pointer in there. By the end of the game the other team was happy to let Faried turn it into a dunk exhibition and he finished the night getting his fortieth point on a windmill jam that everyone else just watched happen. Faried was named the MVP of the game, beating out notable names such as Beal, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis & Kawhi Leonard. Many Nuggets have participated in the Rising Stars game, with Jamal Murray (2017) and Carmelo Anthony (2005) also winning MVP honors.

David Thompson gets runner up in the very first Slam Dunk Contest

The Slam Dunk Contest is actually an ABA invention, with the very first one being held in 1976 in none other than Denver, CO. It was the last year before the NBA-ABA merger and Denver hosted the final ABA All Star Game. What unfolded was an epic competition between some of the ABA’s brightest stars including Thompson, Julius Erving, George Gervin, Artis Gilmore and Larry Kenon (that’s four hall of famers and one five-time all star). It was Thompson and Dr. J who made it to the final and while Skywalker put up some impressive dunks, including a nice 360 dunk, it was Dr. J who proved triumphant with his free-throw line dunk. Though Thompson didn’t win, he will forever be remembered for the great performance he put on with his ABA stars and helping to create one of the most iconic All Star traditions the game has. Other Nuggets to participate in the dunk contest: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (1993), Robert Pack (1994), Darvin Ham (1997), Chris Andersen (2004), J.R. Smith (2009), Faried (2013), Will Barton (2016)

Earl Boykins finishes runner up in the Skills Challenge

The Skills Challenge winner, like the dunk contest champion and the All Star MVP, is an award that thus far has eluded the Denver Nuggets franchise. The player who came the closest to winning was Earl Boykins who finished runner-up in 2005 in another contest/All Star Weekend that was held in Denver. It was Boykins’ second year in a row competing, he finished third in 2004. He was able to get past Luke Ridnour and Gilbert Arenas to advance to the finals but went up against perhaps the player better suited to win this competition than any other: Steve Nash. Despite a strong performance in the final from Boykins, Nash put on a perfect performance and set a new Skills Challenge course record. Other Nuggets to compete in the Skills Challenge: Emmanuel Mudiay (2016), Nikola Jokic (2017 & 2019), Jamal Murray (2018).