May 22, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) drives to the basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter in game four of the Western Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In a town normally dominated by the Denver Broncos and Colorado Avalanche, the Denver Nuggets are the biggest story. With the NBA franchise in the Finals for the first time, we thought it would be a good time to chat with someone who knows the scene. 

Awful Announcing caught with Denver 9News’ weekend sports anchor Jacob Tobey to discuss the team and other topics.

Awful Announcing: What was the atmosphere like at Ball Arena for Game 1?

Jacob Tobey: “I felt lucky to be there. I think people were just jacked up, ready to go, ready to see their team on the biggest stage. And with all of the national narratives going on about Jokic during the season with the MVP race, the national attention with the Western Conference Finals, and how it was all Lakers talk, I think fans were just ready to finally be one of two basketball (cities) that were going to be talked about for two or three weeks. I think everyone was just excited to be there. It was a surreal feeling. It was loud. It was packed.”

What is Nikola Jokić like to cover?

“He’s always himself. I feel like he’s never trying to be someone he’s not. The second the season is over he is off to Serbia and his horses and with his family. You really don’t hear from him until the start of training camp. He won the MVP last year and they had to bring it to him in Serbia because he was already home. But he’s good at media. He’s engaging. He’s smart. He’s funny. At the same time, if your questions aren’t great, he’s not going to give you a great answer. So, he challenges you in that way.”

What was the reaction to Chris Mannix’s saying the Nuggets “aren’t very interesting?”

“I’m from Massachusetts, so I grew up watching him on Celtics coverage, and I respect the heck out of him. But yeah, I think a lot of people were upset…. That’s nothing new for people here in Denver. The local media has always kind of fought this battle of national attention and can they get more of it here and more respect here? The people who work here know what type of team this is. There are a ton of engaging stories. The way they play basketball is very team oriented. And yeah, it’s different than LeBron James, Giannis, or some of the other superstars in the NBA. But at the same time, it’s Denver’s team, and so we as the media understand that there are great stories to tell here. He can say what he wants, or not. NBA players have stories. Athletes have stories.”

Who are the big celebrity Nuggets fans?

“It’s not like L.A. where you have so many celebrities sitting courtside. It’s a little different. The bigger ones I know of are the South Park creators (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) who are from Colorado. Those guys have been here in the playoffs for a couple of games. So, they’re pretty popular. The support from other athletes has been great. Russell Wilson has been at a ton of games. (Avalanche defenseman) Cale Makar has been to a couple of games. He’s really into it.  Kyle Freeland, a pitcher for the Rockies is from Denver, and he’s been here.”

Has it been tough for the Nuggets being third in the pecking order behind the Broncos and Avalanche?

“It has always been a Broncos city, and it probably always will be. Most NFL teams run their cities, right? With the Broncos, the history there is unmatched. That’s John Elway and some of the greats there. Hockey has been really popular in Denver and for them to win in 96, 2001, and 2022 was great for this city. It is kind of a hockey town second. But people are saying if the Nuggets end up winning this thing, some of the media people in town are thinking that there will be more people at this parade than the Avalanche parade (last year) just because it has never happened before.”

If the Nuggets win, will you write a song about them?

“That’s probably a good idea. But man, I’ve been too busy. Too busy going to Ball Arena and going to Phoenix and L.A. and now Miami. My music has taken a hit here for a little bit, but I’ll get back to it in the summer. So if they win, I might have to release something.”

What type of musician are you?

“I sing and play acoustic guitar. I play gigs in some bars and restaurants around Denver. I play a mix of original music and cover stuff. Some country, some pop, some blues. I’ve been doing it since I was 15 years old. That’s what I thought I was going to do for a living. I thought I was going to be a pop star, but this broadcasting thing happened after I got a little bit older.”

Is Sweet Caroline a good song or a terrible song?

“One of the best songs ever written. I play it at every gig because everyone loves to sing along to it. Everyone has fun.”

About Michael Grant

Born in Jamaica. Grew up in New York City. Lives in Louisville, Ky. Sports writer. Not related to Ulysses S. Grant, Anthony Grant, Amy Grant or Hugh Grant.