Veteran big man Nick Collison retires after 15 seasons in NBA

Official release

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison announced today that he will retire after 15 years with the organization.

Over the course of his career, Collison appeared in 910 regular season games (177 starts) and posted career averages of 5.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 20.4 minutes per game. Additionally, Collison saw action in 91 postseason games where he averaged 4.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 16.8 minutes.

“My goal was always to make a career out of basketball, and I was blessed to be in the NBA for 15 seasons,” said Collison. “As my time as a basketball player comes to an end, I’m so grateful for my family, friends, teammates, coaches, fans, my hometown, Kansas University, the Thunder organization and everyone else who has helped me along the way. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It has been an incredible journey that I’m proud of, and it would not have been possible to do it on my own.”

The Iowa Falls native is one of five NBA players to have spent the past 15 or more seasons all with a single franchise.

“I so vividly recall that the first person I saw in the practice gym after the purchase of the team was Nick Collison, working on his jump shot,” said Thunder Chairman, Clayton I. Bennett. “Our initial interaction is something I will never forget, and I thank him for being the same great man today, as authentic as a person you will ever meet. The Thunder will forever be a better organization because he was here.”

Originally selected No. 12 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft, Collison is one of two players (Russell Westbrook) to spend the first 10 years of the Thunder era all with the team. He retires as one of Oklahoma City’s leaders in games played (2nd, 602), assists (4th, 638), blocks (4th, 258), rebounds (5th, 2,561), steals (5th, 296) and points (6th, 2,846).

“Sometimes, in the early phases of an organization’s life cycle, the right player ‎comes around at the right time to help define their vision,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager, Sam Presti. “For the Thunder, Nick Collison was one of those players. Nick has helped define the standards we work by on a day-to-day basis, on and off the court and has become synonymous with the Thunder shield. He is a craftsman; tough, selfless and humble. He brought the best of himself his entire career each day he walked through the door. As result of his consistency and longevity, his contributions to our culture and community will have a lasting effect. That is rare in any industry, but especially professional sports. Many thanks to Nick and his wonderful family for being such an important part to writing our history and helping to set the course. In doing so, he has set the standards for professionalism and consistency for the years ahead and therefore, will always be part of the Thunder.”

During the past 10 seasons, Collison helped lead the Thunder to the second-best record in the NBA (.608; 489-315). He finishes his career with 69 double-doubles and 184 games in which he scored in double figures.