Former Thunder Nick Collison thinks Kevin Durant should join him on the rafters someday
Nick Collison will become the first player to get his jersey retired by the Oklahoma City Thunder during Wednesday’s bar-measuring game against the Toronto Raptors, yet he’s hoping a longtime teammate of his can join him on the rafters someday. That someone is Kevin Durant, the one that once gave him the nickname “Mr. Thunder” for his loyalty to the franchise for 15 years, being a constant friend and teammate whether he started, played, or was even active during a game.
Collison is happy his former teammate will attend his ceremony, regardless of the bad blood between him and the OKC crowd, who still have a bone to pick for Durant leaving the franchise as a free agent in 2016.
“I thought it was great. I played a long time with Kevin, and he’s a special, special teammate,” said Collison of Durant’s attendance, according to ESPN’s Royce Young. “It wasn’t just because he is a great player, but he’s one of the guys I played with the longest. All that stuff about OKC and building the team, he was there for most of that too. I thought that was really cool that he was going to come. It’s not easy to do logistically in the middle of the season, and I know it’s not easy for him to do with all the stuff that’s around him with coming back. But I thought it was great. I’ve texted with him a couple times, and I’ll be happy to see him.”
Collison was initially drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics, just like Durant — playing nine of his 15 seasons (sat out his entire rookie year in 2003-04) alongside him. The Kansas product acknowledged that the decision to retire his jersey will be made by the organization, a lot of it based on merit, longevity and fan appeal.
“It’s their decision to make, but I would certainly think so,” said Collison of Durant’s chances of winding up on the rafters with him. “He’s meant a ton to Thunder basketball and spent a huge majority of his career here. A lot of these honors are just kind of what the team decides to do, and I think players are appreciative of them. I don’t get too worked up about it. I’ll let other people debate that, but to me, he’s a big part of what we did here.”
Only time will tell if the wounds left by Durant’s departure can heal fast enough for the organization to consider retiring his jersey, maybe one day joining his former teammate where his jersey will rest later today.