Chauncey Billups: Denver’s “Big Shot”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and former Mayor Wellington Webb, left, and NBA standout Chauncey Billups and his wife Piper, right, flank Billups’ portrait that was unveiled Tuesday at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library. (Photo by Josh Miller/Special to the SOS)

Hometown hero Chauncey Billups credited his family and his community for his successes on and off the basketball court when his photograph was unveiled this week at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.

The NBA all-star said he plans to bring his daughters to see the library when they are home from college for the holidays and he urged others to visit the library at 2401 Welton St.

Basketball star Chauncey Billups pays tribute to Denver’s first black mayor, Wellington Webb. (Photos by Evan Semón Photography @evansemonphotography #denverEvan)

“My great great grandkids are going to be able to come here and see their old, old man,” Billups said.

“I never dreamed this big, to have something like this. … I’m so proud of where I’m from and who raised me. I appreciate you all supporting me over the years and I love you back.”

He also thanked former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and Webb’s wife, former state Rep. Wilma Webb, for their efforts in pushing for the construction of the library, where a portion is dedicated to making sure Denver and Colorado’s rich black history is not lost.

“You talk about people who impacted me as a kid?” Billups said. “Having Mayor Webb being a black mayor from the neighborhood instilled in us kids we could do anything.”

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Denver Mayor Michael Hancock: “I love this city”

House candidate James Coleman, Larry Mizel, Shayna Coleman and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock at the Mizel Institute's annual dinner. Hancock was this year's honoree.
House candidate James Coleman, Larry Mizel, Shayna Coleman and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock at the Mizel Institute’s annual dinner. Hancock was this year’s honoree.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock delivered an emotional address to his family and the city he loves while being honored at the Mizel Institute dinner Wednesday in a room filled with power brokers.

“Tonight I accept this honor on behalf of the people of Denver who dared to give this kid a shot at his dream,” Hancock said.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his longtime friend, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and his longtime friend, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. (SOS photo)

“I accept on behalf of the team I serve with every day in the foxhole, giving everything they have for the people of this great city. And I accept on behalf of my wife and children who bear an unequal burden so that I may live my dream and serve the people of Denver.”

The mayor’s wife, Mary Louise Lee, a renowned performer, earlier belted out a song to her husband.

Among those in attendance were Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, state Senate President Bill Cadman and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, former state Rep. Wilma Webb.

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Ghosts of Colorado caucuses past, from nuns to a naked boy

The year was 2008 and interest in Colorado’s quirky and confusing precinct caucus system reached a zenith thanks to the presidential race, especially on the Democratic side.

Precinct co-chair Jamie Laurie counts votes for Hillary Clinton at one of 15 causes at East High School on Feb. 5, 2008. Barack Obama's supporters outnumbered Clinton supporters 1,033 to 394 in the 15 precincts. (Rocky Mountain News/
Fifteen Democratic caucuses were held at East High School on Feb. 5, 2008. Barack Obama’s supporters outnumbered Hillary Clinton supporters 1,033 to 394 in the 15 precincts. (Rocky Mountain News/Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library)

As a  political reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, I asked a variety of politicos — from then-City Auditor Dennis Gallagher to U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard to former First Lady Wilma Webb — about their precinct caucus experiences.

With Colorado Republicans and Democrats holding their precinct caucuses tonight, here’s that 2008 story:

Ah, there’s nothing like memories of caucuses past

By Lynn Bartels, Rocky Mountain News

The famed astronaut. The naked boy. The chocolate frosting. And don’t forget the nuns and the no-shows.

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