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Nick Collison's Jersey to Be 1st Number Retired by Thunder on March 20

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2019

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison (4) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Oklahoma City Thunder will honor a longtime contributor by retiring the No. 4 jersey worn by Nick Collison later this season.

The team announced Saturday that the ceremony will take place on March 20, making Collison the first player in this franchise to have his number retired since moving to Oklahoma City 11 years ago.

OKC THUNDER @okcthunder

Hey Mr. Thunder. We've got news for you. @nbcsnl https://t.co/nVQEmbA1Tl

"I am thrilled that Nick Collison will be the first Thunder player to have their number retired in Oklahoma City," Thunder Chairman Clayton I. Bennett said in a statement. "He has cemented himself as part of the fabric of this community and our organization by setting an example of commitment, hard work and authenticity. Congratulations Nick."

Collison spent his entire 15-year career with the same organization, originally drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2003. He spent five years in Seattle before the franchise moved to Oklahoma City and remained a reliable presence for the next decade.

He and Russell Westbrook were the only players on the roster for the first 10 years of the Thunder era.

While he didn't make as much of an impact on the court as his seven-time All-Star teammate, Collison clearly helped the team, as evidenced by the fact that he kept being re-signed whenever his contract was up.

The 38-year-old finally retired after the 2017-18 season after 1,001 games played, including 91 in the postseason. He appeared in 20 games on the team's run to the NBA Finals in 2012.

Collison ended his career with 5,359 regular-season points, averaging 5.9 per game to go with his 5.2 rebounds per game. Although these numbers don't match up with some other players who have their numbers retired, he is truly a unique case.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich even showed his respect to an opposing player:

Royce Young @royceyoung

Gregg Popovich on the Thunder retiring Nick Collison’s number: “I’m glad they’re retiring his jersey. Pretty classy.”

With this type of endorsement, it's no wonder the Thunder will celebrate the forward's impressive career.

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