Thunder chairman Clayton I. Bennett said that after purchasing the SuperSonics, the first thing he saw in the gym was Collison practicing his jump shot.
Collison spent 15 seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder organization.
"My goal was always to make a career out of basketball, and I was blessed to be in the NBA for 15 seasons", Collison said.
Collison, in addition to being such an integral part of the franchise that he's nicknamed "Mr. Thunder", has been the one constant teammate throughout Westbrook's career. "I'm retiring from competitive basketball". He would continue to be a key role player for the Thunder during their rise to contention under Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Collison became a fan favorite during his time with the Thunder organization and will ultimately go down as one of the most respected players in the league. His retirement means Westbrook is now the only player remaining on the roster from when the team moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.
Collison was part of the same draft class as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony.With the Sonics he played in 910 regular season games and is one of the longest serving Seattle players behind "Downtown" Freddie Brown and Gary Payton.Collison finished with 69 double-doubles and averages of 5.9 points and 5.2 rebounds in his career.
He finishes his career with per-game averages of 5.9 points on 53 percent shooting and 5.2 rebounds per game.
"I've had a lot of really good people around me", Collison said. "It would not have been possible to do it on my own", he said.
Teamming with fellow-Iowan Kirk Hinrich - in the article with Young, Collison called Hinrich, "the toughest guy I played with" - and Drew Gooden, Collison helped lead the Jayhawks to back-to-back Final Four appearances in 2002 and 2003 and a berth in the national title game in 2003. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
But Collison's demeanor throughout his career has changed the course of Thunder basketball, and it has changed the way Oklahomans look at basketball.