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Opinion: Thunder should retire Kevin Durant’s jersey

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Kevin Durant’s jersey should hang from rafters at The Peake

NBA: Playoffs-San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant’s jersey should hang from the rafters at The Peake.

Durant’s jersey should hang up there before Russell Westbrook’s.

I know - this opinion shouldn’t even enter my brain, but hear me out.

Durant was the first player out of the “Big Four” to be drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics/Thunder.

Durant was drafted in 2007.

He helped the team reach the Western Conference finals four times in six seasons.

In 2014, Durant saw Oklahoma City as his home and wanted his jersey retired there.

“You get knocked down, but you keep getting back up, keep fighting; it’s [OKC] the perfect place for me,” he said. “The grass isn’t always greener somewhere else.”

Yes, he left the Thunder for a team that defeated them in the Western Conference finals.

But Durant did a lot more for OKC than Nick Collison did.

Collison averaged 5.9 points per game.

Durant has averaged 27.0 points per game.

Durant was named MVP while with OKC, Collison didn’t.

Durant has earned All-NBA honors nine times (2009–2014, 2016–2019) and was voted Rookie of the Year in his debut season. Collison never appeared in an All-Star game.

Back when Collison’s jersey was retired by OKC, Durant expressed to ESPN his love for his former teammates.

“That group was so special, that whole group from 2010 until I left there, it was special,” Durant said. “It’s about time for us to let go of all that extra stuff, and just come together — especially around this time, because it’s Nick.”

Even “Mr. Thunder,” thinks OKC should retire Durant’s jersey.

“They decide to make, but I would certainly think so,” Collison told ESPN. ”He’s meant a ton to Thunder basketball and spent the vast majority of his career here. A lot of these honors are just kind of what the team decides to do, and I think players are appreciative of them. I don’t get too worked up about it. I’ll let other people debate that, but to me, he’s a big part of what we did here.”

So, if OKC can retire the jersey of a player who never made an appearance in an All-Star game and only started it about 20 percent of the games he played in, then Durant deserves to be honored by the Thunder.