OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. —- The Oklahoma City Thunder have officially announced that they will be retiring Nick Collison’s jersey number on March 20th prior to the game against the Toronto Raptors.
“I am thrilled that Nick Collison will be the first Thunder player to have their number retired in Oklahoma City,” Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett said in a released 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’s career in Oklahoma City was unique. Unique in that he helped create the internal standards for work ethic, selflessness, citizenship and professionalism for an organization that was starting from scratch. Unique in that as a role player, he embedded himself as a legacy player for the Thunder because of his consistency both in times of success and adversity and respect for his teammates and the organization,” Thunder General Manager Sam Presti said. “It is fitting that Nick will continue his unique and singular relationship with the organization by being our first retired number.”
The player known as “Mr. Thunder” retired at the end of last season. While he never made it known that last season would be his last, those around the locker room were privy.
On April 11 of last year, Russell Westbrook brought Collison to midcourt to acknowledge his career.
“I’d like to bring up my friend, my mentor, my brother: Nick Collison,” Westbrook said. “He’s somebody I’ve always looked up to, man. It’s a real pleasure have him here and I just wanted to make sure you guys show him some love.”
The Thunder announced the event in a tweet video featuring Saturday Night Live‘s Colin Jost sarcastically revealing the news.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 12, 2019