By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4)– The Denver Nuggets have made an historic journey to the NBA Western Conference finals. Usually playoff basketball means the Pepsi Center is a buzz with excitement, but not this year. The home team is playing in a bubble all the way down in Florida to keep teams safe from COVID-19.

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Anthony Himes is back in Denver reveling in the season the Nuggets are having, while watching them on TV.

“This one feels really good,” said Anthony.

Anthony has been a Nuggets fan nearly his whole life. Since the Nick Van Exel and Antonio McDyess days.

“Really since I got into sports it’s all about the Nuggets,” said Anthony.

He’s been to hundreds of games at the Pepsi Center including playoff games. This year, even though the Nuggets are in the Western Conference Finals, he hasn’t been able to and won’t be able to go see them play in person because they are playing in Orlando.

“It stinks a lot,” he said, “There’s nothing better than a playoff game at Pepsi Center.”

Another person missing the playoffs is Pepsi Center cook Beth Smalls.

“On a scale of one to 10, I grade it a 20,” Beth said.

She is not only missing the experience, players and the fans, but also her job. Beth was laid off when the NBA came to a screeching halt because of COVID-19. She says her unemployment benefits ran out and it has been a struggle to find work, “It’s the worst. I don’t like not being able to work.”

Beth says not being at work has been a struggle, not only to survive, but also because she isn’t at the arena with her beloved coworkers and fans cooking for them while they witness history.

“It really stinks that we are not in the venue with them,” Beth said.

So, while this run is bittersweet for Anthony, he knows that people like Beth whose lives have been turned upside down are the ones who are really hurting. He vows to go back and support them and the Nuggets as soon as he can.

“There’s people who are suffering more than me. That’s their livelihood. I’m just doing this for entertainment,” Anthony said.

Anthony Himes

Anthony Himes (credit: CBS)

Beth says she thinks her and her coworkers may be out of work until summer of 2021, but when the opportunity arises to come back she says she is going to run back to the job that she loves.

Michael Abeyta

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