OKLAHOMA CITY – It seems that Mr. Thunder is officially saying goodbye to the NBA.
Through it all, Nick Collison has been a stable force for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now, he is retiring from the only team he has known during his NBA career.
“My goal was always to make a career out of basketball, and I was blessed to be in the NBA for 15 seasons,” said Collison. “As my time as a basketball player comes to an end, I’m so grateful for my family, friends, teammates, coaches, fans, my hometown, Kansas University, the Thunder organization and everyone else who has helped me along the way. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It has been an incredible journey that I’m proud of, and it would not have been possible to do it on my own.”
In 2003, he was drafted 12th overall by the Seattle SuperSonics.
The Iowa Falls native is one of five NBA players to have spent the past 15 or more seasons with a single franchise. He is also one of two players to spend the first 10 years of the Thunder era all with the team.
“Sometimes, in the early phases of an organization’s life cycle, the right player comes around at the right time to help define their vision,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager, Sam Presti. “For the Thunder, Nick Collison was one of those players. Nick has helped define the standards we work by on a day-to-day basis, on and off the court and has become synonymous with the Thunder shield. He is a craftsman; tough, selfless and humble. He brought the best of himself his entire career each day he walked through the door. As result of his consistency and longevity, his contributions to our culture and community will have a lasting effect. That is rare in any industry, but especially professional sports. Many thanks to Nick and his wonderful family for being such an important part to writing our history and helping to set the course. In doing so, he has set the standards for professionalism and consistency for the years ahead and therefore, will always be part of the Thunder.”
The announcement wasn’t completely unexpected; rumors had been swirling that Collison would be retiring after this past season.
In April, Thunder star Russell Westbrook took time to make sure that Collison was recognized by Thunder fans on their home court.