Nick Collison’s No. 4 might be the very initial jersey to be retired by the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise.
It’s someone who averaged 5.9 points per match, never made an All-Star team and started roughly 20 percentage of the games he played with .
But on Wednesday, the Thunder will raise No. 4 to the rafters, honoring the career of Nick Collison, who retired . Collison spent his entire 14-year career with all the Thunder franchise, supplied by the SuperSonics at 2004 and moving together with the team to Oklahoma City at 2008.
From the outside looking in, it may be confusing which Collison’s could be the very first number retired by the Thunder. To those near to the company, though, it had been a no-brainer. Since Steven Adams says, Collison was a”culture-builder,”” an integral part of the franchise at its infancy although setting it self. Collison put standards for that Thunder, both off and on the court, carrying the flashlight of a few of the very acclaimed franchise cultures in the league.
“It is definitely going to be cool for Nick,” said Durant, Collison’s former teammate that will be attending the ceremony. “I’m excited for him personally .”
Collison chatted with ESPN.com around having his number retired, what life after basketball has been like and when Durant also needs to watch his number in OKC.
Editor’s note: The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
KD will come. What was the reaction once you learned he WIShed to be there?
I thought it had been good. I played with a very long time together with Kevin, and he’s a special, special teammate. It was not just because he’s a terrific player, but he’s one of the guys I played with with the longest. All that stuff around OKC and building the team, ” he had been there for all this too. I thought that was really cool he was going to come. It’s not simple to accomplish logistically at the exact middle of the season, and I know that it’s not easy for him regarding all of the stuff that is around him together with finding its way backagain. But I thought it had been good. I’ve texted together with him a couple times, and I’ll be delighted to see him.
Some individuals fear that his presence is going to overshadow your night. Any sensation of this from the end?
I don’t mind that. I know folks are interested in him returning, but this item is really cool for me and my family members. It’s gonnabe cool for all of us aside from what the dialog is or exactly what other men and women are talking about. It’s nice with me. He only wanted to be there because I believe he appreciates the time we had together too. I think that is cool. I don’t see anything wrong with it.
You think the Thunder should finally retire No. 35?
It’s their decision to make, but I would certainly think so. He has meant a ton to Thunder basketball and spent a huge majority of his career here. A lot of those honors are just kind about what the team decides to accomplish, and I believe players are appreciative of them. I don’t get overly upset on it. I’ll let other people debate that, but to me, he’s a huge part of everything we did here.
There are plenty of people that don’t quite get why your jersey is becoming retired. What should you tell that?
I do not really care that much about that reaction. I know it, though, for sure. I’m not the typical type of player to have his jersey retired. I do believe that it’s really perfect for me personally and my loved ones. We’re really appreciative of this. It’s some thing which the company wanted to accomplish, and I’m honored.
It sounds a lot of people who are near the club or reside at Oklahoma have it, having seen the importance you had in helping build a franchise. But why do you think you are having your group retired?
I think the narrative of the Oklahoma City Thunder is just really a fairly cool story, to be in a position to start from scratch and also have a huge amount of succeeding. I think I played with a fairly big part in that, and I’m proud of my career and always strove to do my job, and it’s really cool to be recognized because of that.
It is probably fair to say when the team relocated from Seattle, you weren’t the most excited person relating to this, but what would you have said if someone had told me then you’d wind up having your number retired by the Thunder?
I would’ve thought you were mad. I would’ve expected this, only knowing my place in the league and also the way it usually goes for guys like me. I probably wouldn’t have anticipated a transaction — no players perform but in case you really would’ve looked over it, then you probably would’ve said at some time you’d proceed around.
Are there any point once you were close to leaving?
When we got to Oklahoma City, they moved everybody which was with Seattle, together with me and clearly Kevin [Durant]. But it just seemed as though I probably would’ve been some of the guys, given the stage of my career. That very first year at Oklahoma City, that year at Seattle, there were still merely a slew of trades, players moving in and outside, re shuffling the deck Sam [Presti] attempting to spot the team for the future. So I clearly thought at the time it could happen. After that, I only always wound up getting fair supplies for extensions, and I actually had been a free agent until the last summer.
We’re moving toward something. We’re also building and becoming better, and I wanted a chance to get a tournament with that category. They offered good, reasonable prices. I was not just going to take anything to stay, but it exercised, so I really was no reason to look elsewhere. It’s such a fantastic matter to stay 1 place the whole time and also be in a position to be with this specific group for so long and also have the type of relations I have. A great deal of people who are in the NBA don’t comprehend that.
“It is such a wonderful matter to stay 1 place the entire time and also be in a position to be with this specific group for so long and also have the type of relations I have. A lot of people who are in the NBA don’t comprehend that.”
How about your post-playing career? Is it a weird or difficult transition?
The big issue is not being tied to that schedule all the time it’s really wonderful. For 15 years playing, four years of college, you are always tied to the basketball schedule, therefore it is wonderful to have a spare time. It’s strange to not be with the team, not be around the guys all of the time. And I want to know what’s going on, so I’m always talking to friends on the staff or some couple guys on the team I still keep in touch with. I really do miss that part of this , but I managed to type of ending on my own terms. I knew it was time for me.
You hear a lot of guys speak about recreating that rush, but I did not play much at the ending, so I learned to manage that. Therefore today it’s more simply not being around it all of the time. I’m really enjoying the other substance, to really have the opportunity to be together with my daughter more.
When many guys retire, they move one of 2 ways: They stay with their exercise customs and keep fit they get fat. What’s your plan there?
I’m so motivated to not get fat. I received a garage gym at my house. I have not been able to do such a thing on the court, so I’m needing to get unique ways to work outside, but I’m doing OK up to now. I’m off to a good start. I’ve been cutting back weight. I’m trying to be sure I could still squeeze into my suits.
By means of your job with the Thunder today, [team PR person] Matt Tumbleson likes to express you work for him today.
Yeah, I’m a PR intern.
Do you really feel like that really is something to springboard into a larger role?
I think so. For me , I’m mostly doing stuff locally. I’ve done two things with a couple local associations. There’s something called Authentic Dads, which is really cool. They are basically a support group for parents it’s not only dads, but people that are going to own kids or have kiddies to type of help in parenting. I’ve done a couple things with people schools and teachers from OKC.
And then I went and scouted a couple of games, some stuff like that. This season I’m not doing this as much. I think I will ramp up more from another couple of years. Nonetheless, it’s something I’m interested in, and it’s really a wonderful opportunity to learn from a number of the best front offices at the league. Basketball is something I’ve always done, and I have plenty to give, I simply have to figure out what niche works for me and this team.
Coaching is in your household, though. Think about that?
I think every player is naturally better prepared for that straight a way because that is what we’ve ever performed. We’ve been on the court, and also we all discover how teams work and also the match works. But frankly, I just don’t have enough time for it. I’m not likely to devote this much time. I’m co-parenting my girl — I Have been divorced, so my daughter does not just have me wherever I move — so I’ve missed a lot of time playing with the last few decades. I do not have to go chase something else, so I’m not going to keep to get gone.
She is in seventh grade, and I need to be able to provide her the time she deserves too. Therefore training does not really permit that. You’ve got to be there daily. You’ve got practice daily and traveling. Summer is busy too. Maybe .
You spent season approximately Paul George, and there certainly were a lot of good feelings which he had been enjoying his time with all the Thunder, but were you surprised when he chose to stay?
I’ve been around enough and seen enough to know it’s hard to be from the forecast industry with free service, so I just kind of know there isn’t any way to know until you receive to July. I think players would do themselves a great deal of favors if they would just constantly say that. Just,”I’m going to hold back until July. I’m going to wait until July.” I think that is mostly what Paul was saying.
It did look like he had been joyful, but I was simply surprised he made it happen on the very first day of free service and investing in it. But I thought it had been great, and I was very satisfied to see it, for sure, because he’s a big-time player and a huge bit, also it helps the company to keep continue. There would’ve been a lot of unknowns when he had abandoned.
What can you imagine it says about Westbrook he chose to remain? After Durant abandoned, there was an understanding — wrong or right — that nobody WIShes to play with Westbrook. Can George’s staying say anything about that?
Paul seems quite happy here. He is playing great. He is playing good next to Russell. I don’t know if it generates some excellent statement about Russell, but it goes contrary to that notion that guys don’t like playing with him. I played along with him along time, and I loved playing with him. I know a lot of the other guys do .