Denver is Colorado’s capital city, and the metropolitan area surrounding it accounts for most of the state’s population. The next ‘big’ city is hundreds of miles away, be it Kansas City, Salt Lake, or Oklahoma City. Traveling to Denver takes hours by air or even days by car, train, or bus.
One group of individuals that visit Denver regularly are professional athletes. Denver is in the elite group of North American cities that are home to franchises of all the major league sports of the continent. Traditionalists list them as the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL. Some also argue that Major League Soccer has become the fifth major league sport of the country and continent. Regardless of which side of this debate you fall on, Denver is in both clubs, as it has franchises in all those sports.
While those franchises are constantly flying or driving out to road games, they also have visiting teams coming in constantly, and they don’t always like doing it. Not only is Denver quite a haul for teams on the Atlantic or Pacific Coasts, there’s often a time shift to deal with they’re not used to. Not too many cities with professional teams call the Mountain Time Zone home.
To make matters worse for visiting teams, the elevation at which Denver sits is much higher than most cities. Many NBA franchises are in cities close to the coastline, so they’re not that far from sea level. However, Denver is called the Mile High City for a reason: it’s a mile higher than sea level. That means the air is much thinner, and even highly conditioned professional athletes notice a bit of a difference, especially if a game goes to overtime. Every one of the other 29 teams in the NBA have to come play the Denver Nuggets at least once per year, and while they’re often breathless, it’s not out of anticipation.