On Friday evening, free agent Darren Collison made the stunning announcement that he’s retiring from the NBA after 10 seasons in the league, including the last two with the Indiana Pacers.
Collison told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that his decision is in large part due to wanting to focus on his Jehovah’s Witness faith more.
Not only did Collison stun fans and media with this announcement, the point guard’s former Pacers teammates were blindsided by the news as well.
Thaddeus Young and Myles Turner both started alongside Collison for the last two seasons in Indiana, and both players expressed surprise when they heard the news.
Young said Collison had never hinted at something like this in their many conversations. In fact, Young said that he and Collison recently discussed their upcoming unrestricted free agency and all seemed normal.
After letting the news sink in, Young expressed his support for Collison.
“I wish my brother and good friend well in his next stages in life and in all of his future endeavors going forward,” Young told HoopsHype via text message. “He was one of the best competitors I’ve ever played with. He played with fire, energy and desire every night. He’s definitely a teammate I’d want to go to war with any day. I feel blessed to have played with DC.”
Turner and Collison were very close, and Turner even attended some Jehovah’s Witness meetings with Collison to better understand his teammate’s religion and show his support. Still, he didn’t think Collison would walk away from the NBA during his prime.
“DC was one of my favorite guards I ever played with,” Turner told HoopsHype via text message. “He constantly challenged me, but also constantly reminded me how good I was. I completely support and respect his decision.
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SOURCE: USA Today; HoopsHype, Alex Kennedy