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Colorado Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland wears a Nikola Jokic Denver Nuggets jersey before the team's baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, April 29, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Geneva Heffernan)

Colorado Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland rocks his Nuggets jersey with pride.

This isn’t some bandwagon fandom, either. The Denver native has supported his hometown hoops team since Freeland's days at Thomas Jefferson High School. Now, for the first time in history, the Nuggets are NBA Finals bound.

“It’s going to be fun,” Freeland told reporters this week from the clubhouse at Coors Field with a No. 27 Jamal Murray jersey hanging in his locker. “I’m super excited to watch them play in the finals for the very first time. It’s going to be great.”

Rockies manager Bud Black spoke with reporters Monday night moments after the Nuggets clinched. His team just beat the Marlins, 5-3, yet Black was more excited about Nikola Jokic carrying his team into the finals.

“There were a bunch of us in our office (watching) and then I heard the roar from the clubhouse,” Black said in his opening postgame remarks. “I told Michael (Malone) via text that we’re pulling hard for him. Our guys are fired up.”

The Nuggets’ growing fan club of local professional athletes doesn’t stop there.

Respective head coaches Malone and Jared Bednar have formed a connection over eight years sharing the same building. It’s no coincidence that Malone’s blueprint for reaching the NBA Finals almost mirrors the 2022-23 Stanley Cup champions Avalanche team.

“We have spent some time over the last few years just talking about the similarities of our two groups,” Bednar said in April. “The young core and the sort-of superstar talent that we have."

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Avalanche players Nathan MacKinnon and Andrew Cogliano attended Game 2 of the Western Conference finals at Ball Arena. MacKinnon took the ceremonial first shot and missed. That’s probably no surprise to his Avs teammates, who also visited Duke basketball coach Jon Scheyer back in November.

“I couldn’t believe the coach was even watching,” defenseman Devon Toews said. “He was probably just cringing watching us shoot hoops. (Defenseman Erik Johnson) was kicking balls like soccer balls.”

Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton, quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Tim Patrick sat together courtside in the second round for Game 5 against the Phoenix Suns. On Thursday, Wilson ended his first news conference of the offseason with this quip: “Go Nuggets.”

But Wilson doesn’t speak for the whole team. On May 16, after Game 1 against Los Angeles, linebacker Nik Bonitto posted on Twitter: “Lakers in 6.” But even a diehard L.A. fan in Denver can admit when he’s wrong. On Monday, Bonitto updated his followers: “Nuggets were better down the stretch every game this series” and “no question who the better team was.”

Nuggets guard Bruce Brown is among the most supportive pro athletes in town. He’s been featured on the videoboard at Avalanche and Rockies games, wearing his fellow team colors with pride. Freeland and others will now return the favor with a city on the verge of celebrating its first NBA title.

Denver is still awaiting their opponent between the Celtics and Heat. Doesn’t matter.

Freeland is picking the Nuggets.

“I love their chances,” Freeland said.