Nuggets celebrate first NBA title with parade through Denver

Nuggets celebrate in style during NBA championship parade (1:35)

The Nuggets take to the streets of Denver and celebrate their NBA championship in front of fans. (1:35)

DENVER -- Nikola Jokic rode atop a firetruck with people who mean the world to him -- his teammate Jamal Murray, his young daughter -- and the NBA's Larry O'Brien Trophy.

Jokic and the Denver Nuggets soaked in the moment and were soaked, too, by champagne spray on Thursday during a parade through downtown Denver to celebrate their first NBA title.

His daughter, Ognjena, stole the show as she sat in front of him, at times wearing Jokic's championship hat. Jokic turned in some big assists, too, shielding her from champagne spray.

This celebration has been a long time in the making and swarms of fans showed up. It took 47 seasons in the NBA for the franchise to finally make Denver the home of the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

Near the end of the parade route, an officer was struck by a firetruck and suffered a serious leg injury, Denver Chief of Police Ron Thomas said at a news conference. The officer was in serious and stable condition.

Later in the day and after the parade, a shooting took place in the downtown area that injured two people. Thomas said the police didn't believe the incident was associated with the celebration. It follows a mass shooting in downtown Denver after the Nuggets clinched the title Monday night.

The Nuggets capped an impressive postseason by beating the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night. Denver finished 16-4 in the playoffs, which was tied for the second-best mark by an NBA champion since the first round was expanded to best-of-seven in 2003. San Antonio also was 16-4 in 2007, and Golden State went 16-1 in 2017.

"It's hitting me right now," said coach Michael Malone, who was choking up as he was interviewed shortly after climbing off his firetruck for the parade. "This is an amazing experience.

"I've got a crazy idea," added Malone, who was wearing a shirt that read, "Put this in your pipe and smoke it" with a picture of the trophy under it. "Let's do this again. I want to be on another float. I want to be at another parade and do this thing again."

So many scenes to absorb.

There was rookie Christian Braun tossing his shirt into the crowd. And veteran DeAndre Jordan mingling with the fans, giving them high-fives. And Murray signing a painting of himself. And Kentavious Caldwell-Pope playing the role of TV broadcaster when he interviewed teammate Aaron Gordon.

"KCP, reporting live," he said, turning to Gordon on the Denver 7 broadcast. "How does it feel to be a champion?"

"You would know, champ," Gordon responded to Caldwell-Pope.

Caldwell-Pope was the lone Nuggets player to have earned a championship, courtesy of his title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.

Jokic is coming off a historic playoff performance where he became the first player to lead the league in total points (600), rebounds (269) and assists (190) in a single postseason. The two-time NBA MVP added more hardware to his resume, too, capturing the Finals MVP.

He had that trophy next to him, too. Jokic momentarily misplaced it Monday night in the chaos of winning a title.

Jokic was called up to the microphone to speak and serenaded with thunderous chants of "MVP," "MVP" from the crowd.

"Ok, OK, OK, OK," he said to quiet them down. "Thank you. Thank you, though. ... This is amazing. We're all going to remember this our whole lives."

With the season now officially closed, Jokic will soon head home to Sombor, Serbia, to spend time with his family and return to his other passion -- horse racing. He's hoping to make it back in time to attend a harness race Sunday.

This is the second straight June the city has held a parade. The NHL's Colorado Avalanche were the guests of honor last year after hoisting the Stanley Cup.