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On June 28th, the NBA lost one of its most respected veteran point guards to retirement. 31-year-old Darren Collison announced he was leaving the league for religious reasons. This comes as a fascinating surprise to the basketball world, as Collison was due for a contract this summer that would range from $10-12 Million annually, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Collison played in the league for 10 years with career averages of 12.5 points and 5 assists per game.
As the NBA, we at Q4Sports are sad to see Collison move on. Darren is one of Q4 Sports’ foundational players. What we’ll miss most about Darren is his ability to overcome the improbable, his loyalty and commitment, and his tremendous work ethic. Darren truly stood and continues to stand for what Q4Sports means at its core, which is “Work 4 Yours”, and that will never be taken for granted.
Darren was fortunate enough to have been born with athletic genetics. Both his mother and father were elite track and field athletes. Darren Collison, however, wanted to be a professional basketball player. With the average height of an NBA athlete being more than half a foot greater than his, it was difficult for NBA scouts to take Darren seriously at being able to perform at the highest basketball level. Frankly, Darren was always looked down upon both literally and figuratively, for his “small” height of six feet tall. None of this got in Darren’s way of his dream, however, as he was drafted 21st overall in the 2009 NBA draft.
Q4Sports followed Darren Collison closely, dating back to his college days at UCLA. We loved his game but loved his degree of loyalty and commitment even more so. Although he likely could have begun his career earlier than he did, Darren chose to stay with the UCLA Bruins for the full four years before declaring for the NBA draft. This was the first indication that showed Darren was not just a player worth investing in, but a person worth doing so as well.
Darren was ranked as just the 100th best basketball player coming out of high school. Only San Diego State and UCLA offered Darren a scholarship to join their basketball programs, as many college basketball programs anticipated Darren’s lack of height would be an issue on the court. Darren began proving the doubters wrong by earning All-Pac-10 honors three times, and the Frances Pomeroy Naismith award for being the top college basketball player standing six feet or under. He continued to prove his doubters wrong when he made the NBA All-Rookie Team in his first season with the New Orleans Hornets. Despite bouncing around the league a bit, Darren Collison proved that he was a reliable starting Point Guard in the NBA.
Unlike the rest of the basketball world, we at Q4Sports were not surprised to learn that Darren Collison was choosing to step away from the NBA in order to focus on the less fortunate, through his Jehovah’s Witnesses faith. The move by Darren is in perfect alignment for what he has and always will stand for; his impeccable ability to overcome the improbable, his incredible level of commitment and loyalty, and his unmatched work ethic. Although we are sad that Darren’s NBA and Q4Sports careers are coming to an end, we are glad and excited for what’s to come next on Darren’s fascinating journey. Darren’s player edition shoes remain available at Q4Sports as we wish him only the best moving forward.