Nick Collison has spent his entire career with one franchise. The Seattle SuperSonics selected the former Kansas Jayhawk with the 12th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. And when the Sonics packed up and moved to Oklahoma City, becoming the Thunder, Collison came along for the ride.
As a result of his long-standing devotion to the Thunder organization, the mayor of Oklahoma City has decided to bestow Collison with a prestigious honor.
In an official press release, mayor David Holt noted that March 20th will now be recognized as Nick Collison Day in Oklahoma City.
In addition to having his own day, Collison will also receive the highest honor any team can bestow. On March 20th, he’ll see his No. 4 jersey retired by the Thunder.
On the day @nickcollison4 becomes the first @okcthunder player to receive the team’s highest honor, in recognition of what he has meant to the team that means so much to the people of our city, I do hereby proclaim today to be “Nick Collison Day” in Oklahoma City. #ThunderUp pic.twitter.com/0SSjo7H6oW
— Mayor David Holt (@davidfholt) March 20, 2019
Collison, who retired last summer, sat down for an interview with ESPN to discuss his recent honor and what it means to his family:
ESPN: There are plenty of folks who don’t quite get why your jersey is getting retired. What do you say to that?
Collison: I don’t really care that much about that reaction. I understand it, though, for sure. I’m not the typical type of player to have his jersey retired. I think it’s really great for me and my family. We’re really appreciative of it. It’s something that the organization wanted to do, and I’m honored.
ESPN: It seems a lot of people who are close to the team or live in Oklahoma get it, having seen the importance you had in helping establish a franchise. But why do you think you’re having your number retired?
Collison: I think the story of the Oklahoma City Thunder is a pretty cool story, being able to start from scratch and have a ton of success. I think I played a pretty big part in that, and I’m proud of my career and always tried to do my job, and it’s cool to be recognized for that.
“Mr. Thunder,” as Collison came to be known, played 910 games over the course of his 15-year career in the NBA, racking up averages of 5.9 points on 53.4 percent shooting from the field, 5.2 rebounds and one assist in 20.4 minutes per outing.
Collison, now 38 years of age, was never recognized as a prolific scorer. In fact, he never made an All-Star team. However, it’s clear that he played a crucial role in the development of the Thunder organization.
“It’s such a great thing to be in one place the whole time and be able to be with that group of people for so long and have the type of connections I have,” Collison told ESPN. “A lot of people in the NBA don’t get that.”