Darren Collison of the Indiana Pacers just wrapped up his 10th NBA season and was set to become a free agent on Sunday.
As a starting point guard who’s led his team to the playoffs in back-to-back years, he was likely in line for an eight-figure annual salary.
But instead of surveying his options in free agency, Collison shocked the world on Friday by announcing his retirement on ESPN’s The Undefeated.
The 31-year-old is choosing faith over basketball just days before he was in line for possibly the biggest contract of his career.
“Basketball has been my life since I was a child. I could never imagine finding anything that brings me more joy than I get from playing the game. While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith,” Collison wrote.
“I am one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and my faith means everything to me. I receive so much joy from volunteering to help others and participate in a worldwide ministry. The joy I feel is unmatched,” he added.
“With that being said, I have decided to retire from the NBA.”
Collison, who was in his second stint with the Pacers, led the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage during the 2017-18 season.
The Pacers, who have been linked to Ricky Rubio by The New York Times’ Marc Stein, were likely going to move on from him, but the organization still thanked Collison for his service to the team.
“Without question, he made us a better team and made the sacrifices to do so.” – @PacersKev
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) June 29, 2019
“We wish you nothing but the best,” the team wrote.
In addition to the Pacers, Collison also played for the Kings, Clippers, Mavericks and New Orleans Hornets after standout career at UCLA.
He personally thanked many of his teammates and opponents for inspiring him on and off the court.
“I’m also appreciative of the great friendships that I have earned from my teammates, coaches, and front-office personnel that I will treasure for a lifetime,” Collison wrote.
“Players such as Victor Oladipo, Russell Westbrook, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James who had a major impact on me competing at the highest level,” he said.
“I either have a close relationship with those that I have mentioned or they inspired me to work harder.”
Collison made over $43 million during his NBA career, including $10 million in each of the past two seasons.
His finishes his career with averages of 12.5 points and 5.0 assists per game.
He also goes out on a high note, as last season was one of the best of his career.
Collison averaged a career-high 6.0 assists per game, and also knocked down over 40 percent of his 3-point attempts.
As a journeyman point guard who didn’t have any deep playoff runs, there isn’t really one moment or play that stands out in Collison’s career, unless you ask 2018 No. 1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton, who had the misfortune of switching onto the speedy guard during a game last season.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 29, 2019
With Collison no longer on the market, the list of starting-caliber point guards in free agency is a bit more condensed.
247Sports ranked Collison as the fifth-best free agent point guard available, just ahead of the guy who might replace him in Indiana — Rubio.
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