Indiana Pacers point guard Darren Collison has announced that he is retiring from the NBA to focus on his Jehovah’s Witnesses faith. He said he was retiring to focus on volunteering to help people and to participate more as a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the religious organization’s global ministry while working to make himself a better person.
“While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith,” the 31-year-old wrote in an open letter published on the Undefeated website. “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.”
“With that being said, I have decided to retire from the NBA,” he added.
He then thanked his former teammates, coaches, and NBA co-stars, who inspired him: Victor Oladipo, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul.
He also thanked his wife Keyosha, saying she was their family’s strength.
Many of Collison’s teammates, NBA colleagues, and fans reacted positively to his announcement on Twitter.
RESPECT! Big Bro Happy Retirement! pic.twitter.com/isat1SZw0V
— Myles Turner (@Original_Turner) June 29, 2019
Thank You General! ???? pic.twitter.com/4qwN0D6OqR
— Victor Oladipo (@VicOladipo) June 29, 2019
But many were also shocked that he was making a decision to retire at a time that his career was still in a steep rise after having played for New Orleans Hornets, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, and Indiana Pacers.
Darren Collison's retirement is shocking. He started 140 of 145 games over last 2 years for IND. The 31-year-old just averaged 11.2 PPG, 6.0 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.4 SPG and 40.7 3PT%. Teams were interested in signing him. He told @MarcJSpearsESPN it's about his Jehovah's Witness faith. pic.twitter.com/Twkotinpik
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 29, 2019
Extremely shocked to hear this, but blessed I had the opportunity to play with DC and called him a brother. Overall great individual and always ready to go to war each night. https://t.co/3R0u1ARuC2
— Thad Young (@yungsmoove21) June 29, 2019
Collison made about $43 million during his NBA career and he was set to secure a $10 million salary in free agency this summer when he announced his retirement, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He was drafted out of UCLA in 2009 and during 10 seasons of his NBA career, he averaged 12.5 points and 5.0 assists in 708 games.
He is one of the few players in all of NBA history to achieve an average of at least 10 points and 3.5 assists per game, according to ESPN.