We’ve known it was coming sometime soon, we just didn’t know when. Now it has. Possibly the most loyal man in professional basketball is walking away from the game for good. Fourteen-year veteran Nick Collison announced on Thursday that he is retiring after spending his entire career with the organization that drafted him.
“My goal was always to make a career out of basketball, and I was blessed to be in the NBA for 15 seasons. 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.” – Nick Collison
There probably isn’t a player who has endeared himself more to the fans than Collison. Not necessarily for the way he played on the floor but more so for the way he conducted himself off the floor. Always generous with his time, wise with his words, and effective in his leadership, Collison has been a fan favorite since the day the team arrived in Oklahoma City. That made the moments when the former Jayhawk made his way on the court even more special.
After 14 seasons in the NBA, Nick Collison is retiring 😭😭😭 (per @royceyoung)
We'll miss you, Nick! pic.twitter.com/GoLYgEL3Fn
— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 10, 2018
After scoring seven points in six minutes during OKC’s 104-94 win over the Spurs on March 10th the crowd started the MVP chants for Collison. “Sometimes, I feel like the walk-on in college games where everybody’s yelling at him to shoot the ball, one of the kids that gets in at the end of the game in blowouts,” he said after that game.
During his career, Collison appeared in 910 regular season games (177 starts) and posted career averages of 5.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 20.4 minutes per game. Additionally, he saw action in 91 postseason games where he averaged 4.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 16.8 minutes.
Nick Collison is one of five NBA players to have spent the past 15 or more seasons all with a single franchise.