Nuggets' Hilarious New Playoff Tradition Comes at Expense of Aaron Gordon

Denver's Game 5 victory revealed a funny superstition between Gordon and the rest of the roster.
May 14, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) drives to the net
May 14, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) drives to the net / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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The Denver Nuggets have flipped all narratives by winning three straight games to go up 3-2 on the feisty Minnesota Timberwolves. Their season-saving turnaround can be mostly attributed to Nikola Jokić ascending into another plane of basketball existence after solving the Wolves' defensive gauntlet. But Aaron Gordon played a big role too, and not just on the court.

Where he has been excellent, to be clear. Gordon, like the rest of his teammates, struggled mightily in the opening two games of the second round series; the former All-Star had a plus-minus of -55 heading into Game 3. But he's been stellar ever since, averaging 19.3 points per game on 69.7% shooting from the floor. Most importantly, he is not eating dinner with everybody in Minnesota.

After Denver's Game 5 112-97 win on Tuesday night, Sam Amick reported for The Athletic that the Nuggets have a new playoff superstition — Gordon is not allowed to come to the team dinner at their usual steakhouse in Minneapolis. In the locker room Tuesday, Gordon asked DeAndre Jordan if he was invited, and Jordan did not hesitate to deny his teammate entry.

"DJ, y’all going to team dinner?” Gordon asked, per Amick.

“Yeah — not you though,” Jordan said. “We’ll see you next round (of the playoffs). Sorry, dawg. We’ll bring you some takeout though.”

As it turns out, the Nuggets have a usual steakhouse they go to before Timberwolves games. After dropping their first two games at home and with their title defense on the ropes, the team went to that same steakhouse. Gordon, for reasons not yet known, was the only player who didn't make it.

And thus the superstition comes into focus. After Gordon missed dinner, the Nuggets pulled off a huge Game 3 victory. Then Denver did it again in Game 4 thanks in large part to a perfect 10-of-10 start from the field for Gordon, who finished 11-of-12.

The vibes are sky-high after the Nuggets' third consecutive win, but the superstition isn't going to change. It may go down in franchise history should Denver fend off Minnesota for one more game. It won't be easy, but every athlete plays better when they truly believe they have fate on their side.

As long as Gordon doesn't show up and ask for a New York strip, the Nuggets are in a good spot.

Liam McKeone


Liam McKeone is a Senior Writer for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. In addition to his role as a writer, he collaborates with other teams across Minute Media to help define his team’s content strategy. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in 2024, Liam worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, Liam is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books, and video games. Liam has been a member of the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) since 2020.