Thunder charter member Nick Collison might have found his calling for when his playing days are over.
Last Wednesday from a studio in Sacramento, Collison taped a segment for the Dan Le Batard “Highly Questionable” show and nailed the interview.
The segment could – and perhaps should – be used as an audition tape for Collison's potential future employment as an NBA analyst or commentator. Better yet, assign Collison to do player interviews away from the game.
Collison is smart, creative, insightful and has a well-humored way of looking at things a shade off-center.
There could be one catch. If Collison got the gig, he might have to shave. No national TV scruff.
“I think I could do that,” Collison said with a smile, “if the money is right.”
Collison said he was surprised he was asked to do Le Batard's show, but jumped at the opportunity.
“That definitely would be something maybe I could take a shot at,” Collison said of analyst work. “I know those jobs are hard to get, but I'd be open to checking it out.”
No longer are Collison's musings limited to Twitter. During the offseason, he was handpicked as the NBA player to blog bi-weekly on GQ.com throughout the 2011-12 season.
Collison's guest blogs have been well-received, and in prominent circles. Three-time All-Star, two-time scoring champ and Thunder teammate Kevin Durant gave his resounding endorsement.
“Nick's a funny guy, man,” Durant said. “He'd be a good beat writer.” High praise, indeed.
Writer Lang Whitaker recommended Collison for the blogosphere. Whitaker is an editor-at-large at SLAM Magazine and also a contributor to GQ.
Collison and Whitaker crossed paths early in Collison's NBA career when he was with the Seattle SuperSonics.
“I live in New York City, but the Sonics were playing in Jersey one night, and Nick and I started chatting in the locker room and hit it off,” Whitaker explained in an e-mail. “We've stayed in touch ever since, at games here and there, but mostly via emails, texts and Twitter.”
Whitaker did NBA playoff blogs for GQ last season and got reacquainted with Collison. “Having corresponded with Nick before, I knew he was an interesting guy and could be a funny writer,” Whitaker said. “So I asked Nick if we could do a post where we just sent a bunch of emails back and forth over the course of a couple of days. He was up for the idea.”
Whitaker was asked to spearhead an NBA player blog for GQ.com this season. Whitaker suggested Collison to his editor, Devin Gordon, who agreed.
“Regardless of what Nick maintains, asking Nick to write this column for GQ had nothing to do with the way he dresses,” Whitaker joked. “I suspected Nick would be good at this because he reads a lot and consumes plenty of culture. And after having exchanged emails for years, I knew, maybe most importantly, that he could write. Nick has a great voice, and he's good at pacing and telling a story. He's also has a great eye for a compelling topic.”
The Thunder has had a considerable GQ presence the couple of years. Prominent author Bethlehem Shoals has written multiple times about Thunder players. A dapper Russell Westbrook had his own photo shoot and now Collison's literature graces the pages.
Collison's first three blogs have been about how he spent his extended summer vacation, the daily life in the NBA – then and now – and the art of rookie hazing.
As a writer, Collison is self-effacing, understated, knowledgeable and efficient – much like his work as a player. People are drawn to Collison. His work gets noticed. Respect comes quickly.
“It's kind of fun,” Collison admitted. “It's something a little different. I think fans kind of want to know the behind-the-scenes stuff. I won't be able to tell everything that goes on, but there are certain things I think I could shed a light on.”
Collison said he doesn't seek clearance from teammates as to what he shares publicly. “I just use my judgment,” Collison said.
Nor does Collison seek clearance from tight-lipped Thunder general manager Sam Presti. Collison's intent is not to start any trouble with his writings.
“Some of the stuff we do, Sam said he would like to keep rather private. Competitive advantage, I guess,” Collison said. “I'm definitely the last guy who wants to be controversial doing this, so I'm not going to be doing any of that.”
NEXT FIVE FOR THUNDER
* Tuesday: vs. Utah, 7 p.m. (FSOK) – After having just one home game since Jan. 25, the Thunder returns for six of its next seven at home. Utah, meanwhile, will be on the third leg of a back-to-back-to-back road swing.
* Wednesday: at Houston, 7 p.m. (FSOK) – When OKC played Houston in January, the Rockets were struggling, but they quickly stabilized by winning 10 of their next 12 games. Houston will be coming off six-game road trip.
* Friday: vs. Golden State, 7 p.m. (FSOK) – Third meeting against the Warriors in a span of three weeks, but this time the Thunder gets them at home. Golden State never met a shot it didn't like and is always potentially lethal.
* Sunday: vs. Denver, 7 p.m. (FSOK) – First meeting of the season against Denver, which is the conference's second-best road team behind the Thunder and appears to be even a better team without Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith.
* Feb. 20: vs. New Orleans, 7 p.m. (FSOK) – Third and final meeting against the depleted Hornets. A must win for OKC, particularly leading into back-to-back home games against the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.