The team was founded as the Denver Larks in 1967 as a charter franchise of the American Basketball Association (ABA), but changed their name to Rockets before the first season. The Rockets then changed their name again to the Nuggets in 1974. After the name change, the Nuggets played for the final ABA Championship title in 1976, losing to the New York Nets.
The team has had some periods of success, qualifying for the ABA Playoffs for all seasons from 1967 to the 1976 ABA playoffs where they lost in the finals. The team joined the NBA in 1976 after the ABA–NBA merger and qualified for the NBA playoffs in nine consecutive seasons in the 1980s and ten consecutive seasons from 2004 to 2013. However, they have not made an appearance in the NBA Finals since their last year in the ABA; as such, they are also the only one of the four surviving former ABA teams to have never reached the NBA Finals.