OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Nick Collison’s No. 4 jersey was retired by the Oklahoma City Thunder during a ceremony before their game against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
It’s the first number the Thunder have retired since the franchise moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. The Seattle SuperSonics drafted Collison out of Kansas in 2003 and he spent his entire 15-year career with the club.
Collison averaged only 5.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for Seattle/Oklahoma City, but played a key role in developing the team’s Oklahoma City culture and became known as “Mr. Thunder.”
Mayor David Holt declared Wednesday to be “Nick Collison Day” in Oklahoma City.
“I could never have expected something like this,” Collison said. “But it’s really a special night for me and my family. It’s been a long run. To be able to have the career I had here and then have a celebration like that, I feel very fortunate. That kind of goes without saying, but it’s amazing for me. It’s a good feeling coming back. I don’t know how to feel for something like this. It’s like nothing can prepare you for it.”
Among his former Thunder teammates who attended the ceremony were Kevin Durant of Golden State and Serge Ibaka of the Raptors. Neither were mentioned during Collison’s pregame speech, but current Thunder star Russell Westbrook was.
“I used to play with Nick,” Ibaka said. “He was one of the guys who really helped me in my first year in the league, when I was 19. Playing tonight, the same day they’re going to retire his jersey, it’s really special.”
Collison, 38, was born in Orange City, but played high school basketball at Iowa Falls and college ball at Kansas.