SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — As it turns out, even a man in line for more than a quarter billion dollars can still have a go-to t-shirt.
Whether he’s taking batting practice, winning team shooting competitions, or simply just walking around the Colorado Rockies’ clubhouse at Salt River Fields, you can find newly-minted $260 million-dollar man Nolan Arenado rocking his Denver Nuggets, Nike Dri-Fit, City Edition Tee.
It’s a clean look with DENVER in bold white letters hovering over a modern iteration of the Nuggets’ classic rainbow look, with a mountain silhouette replacing the skyline. A perfect fit for one of the team’s biggest new fans.
“The Nuggets are having a great year, and it’s really fun to watch,” Arenado told BSN earlier in the Spring, fittingly wearing his favorite threads. “It’s fun, man. It’s great for the city, and I’m happy that they’re playing so well.”
Arenado’s support of the Nuggets falls in line with a fantastic trend that has been sweeping through the state over the past couple of years—Colorado athletes supporting Colorado athletes. You can find Von Miller and Co. sitting courtside or on the glass at the Pepsi Center. You’re sure to see Phillip Lindsay behind home plate at Coors this year. It’s hard to miss Nikola Jokic supporting the Avs in a sweater that doesn’t quite fit, and you can definitely find Kyle Freeland on the sidelines at Mile High.
Being a great athlete in Colorado has become a brotherhood.
“It’s really cool,” Arenado said. “I think it keeps things lively and keeps everyone fired up for each team’s seasons. We are out here representing the whole state of Colorado, so we take a lot of pride in cheering each other on and hopefully having the best teams out there.”
But the Nugget Arenado cheers on the hardest isn’t who you’d think it is. Not one of his fellow superstars, or at least not anymore.
“I’m a pretty big fan of Isaiah Thomas, so it’s cool that he’s on the team,” he said.
And it’s not because of an off-the-field friendship, either.
“Just the way he is,” Arenado said of his IT fandom. “He’s a little guy; I remember watching him at Washington in the Pac-12 and watching how competitive he is and how far he’s come. A lot of people doubted him, and he’s overcome a lot, so it’s fun to watch.”
Remember, this is coming from a guy who was labeled an unathletic, duck-footed, lumbering prospect who “projected” as a catcher in the big leagues. If you haven’t been paying attention, Arenado has since turned himself into one of the greatest defensive third basemen in MLB history, so maybe it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that he has a soft spot for the underdog.
That might also help to explain the six-time Gold Glover’s attraction to the Nuggets, the team on a mission to win a championship with a home-grown roster in the super-team era. It also can’t hurt that Denver is led by another guy who was labeled an unatheletic, duck-footed, lumbering prospect, although a few of those things may be true of the basketball unicorn that is good ‘ol Nikola Jokic.
In the end, though, Arenado’s favorite thing about his favorite tee is bigger than just the Nuggets.
“It says Denver on it, and I’m just big on representing Denver,” he explained.
Now that’s a franchise player.