During his time with the Nuggets, Andersen began the transformation into the audacious character he is today. Nicknamed ‘Birdman’ by his teammates, he developed an obsession with tattoos, gradually covering his body in colorful designs. Meanwhile, he cut and shaped his hair into a distinctive mohawk style.
On the court, Andersen was a success. And in 2004 he signed with the New Orleans Hornets. However, just two years later he was suspended from the NBA. Apparently, he had been caught using hard drugs – a crime that saw him barred from basketball for a minimum of two years.
But Andersen had come too far to be defeated so easily, and after a stint in rehab he dedicated himself to improving his game. And two years later, he was welcomed back to finish the season with the Hornets. Later that year, he returned to play for the Nuggets – a successful homecoming that should have been the end of his career woes.