In 1948–49 National Basketball League  (NBL) season, Original Denver Nuggets were established.

InFollowing that season, the NBL merged with the Basketball Association of America (BAA), with the newly unified circuit named the National Basketball Association to reflect the merger

In 1967, one of the American Basketball Association (ABA)’s charter franchises was awarded to a group in Kansas City,  Leaded by Southern Californian businessman James Trindle.

James Trindle moved his team to Denver as the Denver Larks, named after Colorado's state bird.

The Trindle group was severely undercapitalized, leading Mikan to order the Larks to post a $100,000 performance bond or lose the franchise. Hours before the deadline, Trindle sold a ⅔ controlling interest to Denver trucking magnate Bill Ringsby for $350,000. Ringsby then renamed the team the Rockets, after his company's long-haul trucks.

As a result of the Trindle group's serious lack of finance, Mikan required the Larks to deposit a $100,000 performance bond or risk losing the franchise.

Bill Ringsby, a Denver trucking tycoon, purchased Trindle's two- third controlling interest for $350,000 only hours before the deadline. The squad was later dubbed the Rockets by Ringsby after the long-haul trucks owned by his business.

Haywood entered the NBA by signing with the Seattle SuperSonics just before the 1970–71 season began. The team's record dropped to 30-54, and attendance declined.

Ringsby sold the team to San Diego  businessmen Frank Goldberg and Bud Fischer in 1972.

The franchise held a contest to choose a new team nickname, as "Rockets" was already in use by the Houston Rocket. The winning choice was "Nuggets", in honor of the original Nuggets team in Denver from 1948–50

Dikembe Mutombo was the best player of Denver Nuggets in 1991-1996. Dikembe reached 1,496 blocks and is still the all-time leader in franchise history.