The man behind the Nuggets in-game soundtracks makes a memorable mark on the game

DJ Paws has been a part of the team since his own childhood, starting as a ball-boy and T-shirt hurler
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Posted at 10:35 AM, Jun 10, 2024

DENVER — At Ball Arena, Rocky the Nuggets mascot isn’t the only big cat.

“Doing this as long as I have, I feel like I've developed an ability to read a room,” DJ Paws, the Denver Nuggets' in-house DJ, said. “And, I mean, that's always been my strength as a DJ.”

DJ Paws is perched along Concourse 1, visible to the entire arena. He's the hype man in the stands on game night.

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“My last name is Pawelka. When searching for a DJ name came around about 12 to 13 years ago, I was like, you know what, I’m just going to do what I know,” DJ Paws said. “Paws is what we landed on.”

While the players dictate what happens on the hardwood, the guy tucked away in the DJ booth in Section 134 is the leading sixth man in the crowd.

“I do all the in-game prompts, as well,” DJ Paws said. “The timeouts, all the sound effects you hear in game. Whether we make a shot, the other team misses a shot. Anything that you hear, for the most part, it’s coming from one of my devices over here.”

Paws has given Nuggets fans some proud moments, especially during the Nuggets' amazing run to the NBA Championship in 2023. And while the team bowed out of the 2024 playoffs a bit too soon, Paws made the most of this year’s run, as well — responsible for turning moments into unforgettable memories. He’s always ready to blow the lid off the place at any given moment during a run by the home team.

“My goal here is just to enhance the experience for our fans,” DJ Paws said. “I think my job is so unique in that sense that, you know, you can play a song that takes you back to any moment of your life.”

And it all sort of comes as second nature to DJ Paws.

“I feel connected to the game of basketball,” he said. “It’s been such a focal point in my life. I know the game like the back of my hand. I’m constantly being exposed to basketball and how it’s changing.”

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After all, he has a long history of cheering on the Nuggets and crowd pleasing.

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“My first actual role working here in this building was throwing T-shirts when I was like 7 years old,” Paws said. “I’ve thrown T-shirts, I was a ball boy, I’ve wrapped TV cable, I’ve been a mascot assistant and timeout coordinator.”

What started for him as a kid, has morphed into a career. From teenage t-shirt hurler to official house DJ of the 2023 NBA Champion Denver Nuggets.

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“I’m just as big of a Nuggets fan as everybody else in here,” he said. “I’ve worked for this organization my whole life. I’ve got it tattooed on my knuckle. I genuinely think this team was in my blood.”

And he’s not only a DJ to the fans. The players have a connection with him as well — feeding off the tracks they want to hear.

“Music is such an expression-based craft,” he said. “Playing a certain song to match the right moment, we’re making memories that families can have with their children for the rest of their lives.”

The man behind the Nuggets in-game soundtracks makes his mark