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From the first season after the NBA-ABA merger, the Denver Nuggets issued this road blue jersey with pick-ax and gold nugget to franchise idol Dan Issel, who wore #44. The following season, the jersey was handed down to the team's top draft pick, Tom LaGarde, and the number was changed to #45. The Wilson size 46 jersey features "3" x Long" on a handwritten flap-tag on the outside tail. An original ABA power, the Nuggets became an NBA club in the fall of '76 when the two leagues merged. Issel - an original Kentucky Colonels star - became Denver's all-time leading scorer (though since overtaken by Alex English) and still ranks #8 all-time in professional basketball history. His uniform number of 44 has been retired. LaGarde - a Tar Heels star in college - played just one season with the Nuggets before heading to Seattle and then the expansion Dallas Mavericks in 1980.
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