Advice for fans attending Denver Nuggets games: make sure to get a program, so you can identify Gary Forbes.
The Nuggets like Forbes, an unknown and undrafted rookie forward, who is making an impact. He's kicked around Europe and the N.B.A. Developmental League for the past two years, doing well enough to be invited to Nuggets training camp. Forbes, who played at the University of Massachusetts, was given a remote shot of making the team.
Guess who's still here, playing in the regular season? Forbes.
His hard work and hustle earned him a spot on the Nuggets final roster, and now he's a seeing playing time replacing the injured Nene.
Forbes started Wednesday's 102-101 loss to the Mavericks, contributing 12 points, three rebounds, a steal and a block in 23 minutes. He was given the tough defensive assignment playing center at 6-6 and guarding Dirk Nowitzki, who is about six inches taller than Forbes.
Forbes, 25, said starting his first N.B.A. game was a bit stressful at first.
"Probably like 20 minutes before the game, coach told me to be ready to start and be ready to guard Dirk. So that's what I tried to do," Forbes told AOL FanHouse.
Nowitzki, who admitted after the game he'd never heard of Forbes, ended up scoring 35 points.
Forbes' teammates are happy for him, seeing him as an asset because no opponent has scouted him -- yet.
"I think they were surprised to see Gary out there," Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony told Nuggets.com. "I was surprised to see Gary out there. I knew he was going to start, but actually starting on Dirk, I was surprised about that. But Gary did what he was supposed to do when he got in the game and he played well."
Nuggets Coach George Karl appreciates Forbes' dedication and willingness to do anything to help the team.
"He's outworked some guys in practice," Karl said. "We knew we had to play somebody some minutes that probably would be unorthodox. He's earned it by his hard work and his commitment to practice and getting better."