The original Denver Nuggets, organized in 1948, was the first professional basketball team in Denver. The city had an AAU franchise from 1934 to 1948, competing under various names and sponsorships. The last of these AAU teams, the Denver Nuggets, broke up in the summer of 1948. The AAU team's general manager, Hal Davis, put together a new Denver Nuggets team to compete in the National Basketball League.

When the NBL merged with the BBL in 1949 and became the National Basketball Association, the Nuggets became an NBA team. The westernmost team in the NBA, the Nuggets were led by player/coach Jimmy Darden, a star shooting guard. The Nuggets played one season in the NBA, compiling an 11-51 record in the Western Division. The team was disbanded in 1950, leaving Colorado without any major league sports teams until the birth of the AFL’s Denver Broncos in 1960.

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