Local Colorado legend and Nuggets great elected to Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

Aug 12, 2023; Springfield, MA, USA;  The 2023 Basketball Hall of Fame class takes the stage
Aug 12, 2023; Springfield, MA, USA; The 2023 Basketball Hall of Fame class takes the stage / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class will be officially announced this Saturday at the Final Four, but some of the inductees were leaked on Wednesday. One notable former player and current coach to be elected is former Denver Nuggets point guard, Chauncey Billups.

Colorado roots for Billups

Billups’ ties to Denver go much deeper than playing for the Nuggets though. He was born and raised in Denver, attending George Washington High School. There, Billups was named the Colorado Player of the Year twice and made the McDonalds High School All-American team in 1995.

Chauncey chose to stay close to home for college, playing for the University of Colorado Boulder. In 1997 he was named first team All-Big 12 and second team All-American. He would later have his #4 jersey retired by the school.

Chauncey's NBA career

He was drafted third overall in the 1997 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics, but was traded several times over the first few seasons of his career - including a brief, uneventful stint in Denver. Billups had a breakout year with the Timberwolves in the 2001-02 season and signed with the Pistons that offseason.

In Detroit, Billups became a star, establishing his reputation as “Mr. Big Shot”, becoming an all-defense player, and leading the Pistons to six straight Eastern Conference Finals, which included a championship run in 2004, where Billups was voted Finals MVP.

Billups' second stint in Denver

In 2008, Chauncey was traded back to Denver and played for the Nuggets until being traded in 2011. In his first season with the team, Billups, along with Carmelo Anthony, helped lead the Nuggets to one of the most successful seasons in franchise history which culminated in a hardfought loss to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.

Billups made the All-Star team that season, was voted third team All-NBA, and finished in sixth place for the MVP Award. He made the All-Star Game again the following season with Denver, but was traded to the Knicks along with Anthony in the 2010-11 season.

Career in coaching

After a very brief stint in New York he’d play for the Clippers and Pistons again before retiring in 2014. After playing, Chauncey became an assistant coach for the Clippers in 2020 and he now serves as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers.

For his career Billups averaged 15.2 points and 5.4 assists per game over his 17-year career in the NBA. He was a five-time all-star, made two all-defensive teams, three all-NBA teams, and was, of course, the MVP of the 2004 NBA Finals. Congratulations to a Colorado legend!