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Thunder’s Steven Adams reacts to Nick Collison’s jersey retirement

Steven Adams, Thunder

Steven Adams was fond of his former teammate, Nick Collison, being the first player to have his jersey retired by the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of Wednesday’s home game against the Toronto Raptors.

The Kiwi center said it was a good moment for Collison and the organization, who rewarded the lifelong big man for his loyalty to the franchise, from his five years in Seattle (sat out his rookie season) to his next 10 in OKC:

“That was a beautiful one. It was really, really good,” said Adams. “It was really good for the organization too. To retire his jersey … I miss the old bastard. It was a beautiful moment.”

Adams played five of his six seasons alongside Collison, who at that point was more of a mentor than a player with an active role within the team. Yet every Thunder player has spoken nothing but great things about Collison as a teammate, friend and confidant throughout his 14 seasons in the league.

Kevin Durant, who shared the bulk of his career with Collison, also attended his retirement ceremony, soon flying back to the Bay Area as the Golden State Warriors take on the Indiana Pacers Thursday.

Collison said he appreciated the gesture, knowing how tough it is to make accommodations midseason.

Many questioned the validity of having a role player going to the rafters, but the Thunder have been intent on proving that longtime loyalty is something worth rewarding, and having a player stick through the rebuilding stages and years beyond was deserving enough to forever hang high in Chesapeake Energy Arena.