Nick Collison's career numbers in the NBA aren't going to wow you. But numbers alone don't measure a player's importance to a team. That is clearly the case with Collison, as the Oklahoma City Thunder have announced that they will retire his number 4 jersey at a ceremony this spring.

Collison has been with the Thunder so long that they weren't the 'Thunder' when they drafted him back in 2003. The franchise at that time was still the Seattle Supersonics. The franchise eventually moved to Oklahoma City. Collison announced his retirement from the NBA last May. He had his retirement party in Des Moines. Even NBA MVP Russell Westbrook made the trip to honor his longtime teammate.

Collison played high school basketball at Iowa Falls and led them to back to back state titles in 1998 and 1999. Then, it was off to Kansas. He starred for the Jayhawks from 1999 to 2003 and was named the Big 12 Player of the Year as a senior. His number 4 has already been retired in Lawrence, Kansas.

Collison's career NBA numbers are 5.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. But the team cited other things in announcing his number retirement. Management says that even as a role player, Collison became a legacy player for the Thunder due to his leadership in both good and hard times, the respect he had for his teammates, and the respect he had for the game.


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