The Denver Nuggets have wrapped up their first NBA Championship, knocking off the Miami Heat four games to one to conclude the 2022-23 NBA Finals. Miami’s miracle run lasted longer than anyone thought it was, especially as it looked dead to rights in the NBA Play-In tournament all those weeks ago. Ultimately, the Nuggets were just too tough. How do the OKC Thunder tie into this?
With historic performances from Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray throughout the series, Denver is crowned NBA Champions for the first time in franchise history since 1977. Jokic will get all the headlines as the Finals MVP, and some would argue should have three-peated for the Regular Season award. However, three former Oklahoma City Thunder players earned Championship Rings tonight as well.
Three Former OKC Thunder players earn NBA Championship Rings for the 2022-23 Denver Nuggets.
The Oklahoma City Thunder saw former forward Jeff Green and former backup guards Ish Smith and Reggie Jackson earn NBA Rings with the Denver Nuggets during this year’s NBA Finals.
Jeff Green was drafted 5th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft and traded to Seattle as part of a blockbuster draft night for Sam Presti and the franchise. Green quickly became a fan favorite but was eventually traded to Boston to land OKC Kendrick Perkins. Green played for 11 franchises on his way to his first ring this season. The Georgetown product played 289 games for the Oklahoma City franchise.
Ish Smith is one of the most incredible stories from the NBA Finals. On his 13th team, including 30 games with the OKC Thunder in 2014-15, Smith is finally an NBA Champion after 13 years.
Reggie Jackson has a touchy history with Oklahoma City; a messy divorce leaves fans apathetic at best at the fact he has earned a Championship ring. Jackson spent his first four seasons with Oklahoma City, tallying 245 games for the OKC Thunder before demanding a trade and being shipped to the Pistons in the middle of the 2014-15 campaign. The former first-round pick is an NBA champion and earned some garbage time minute(s) in this series against the Heat.
Lastly, as a fun Nugget, just as the team did a few days ago, last year the OKC Thunder shipped off the 30th overall pick to Denver to land a future first-rounder (2027, Top-5 protected) and the 30th overall pick, who wore an OKC cap on draft night, Peyton Watson, is now an NBA Champion.