Collison defends tweets

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Former Kansas University basketball standout Nick Collison is embroiled in a silly, head-scratching controversy in Oklahoma City — home of Collison’s Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team.

OKC “Sports Animal” radio talk show host Jim Traber recently took exception to a handful of Collison’s “tweets” on the Internet Web site Twitter.

In 140 characters or less, Nick the past month or so has commented on how hot the weather is in Oklahoma City ... and how cool it is in Seattle.

Power forward Collison played for the Seattle SuperSonics for five seasons before the team moved to Red Clay Country last year. He still lives in Seattle in the offseason with his wife, Robbie, and daughter, Emma.

Anyhow ... former Baltimore Orioles first baseman Traber of station WWLS last week admitted he has been trying to run Collison out of town because of his “tweets,” which were first brought to light by Daily Oklahoman columnist Jenny Carlson.

Collison — who happens to be one of the nicest, nonconfrontational guys you’d ever want to meet — made an unsolicited call to the Oklahoma talk show last week.

He engaged in a remarkable 17-minute give-and-take with Traber which is available on the station’s Web site or at http://podcasting.fia.net/6779/3871196.mp3.

Collison told Traber he thoroughly enjoyed his first season in Oklahoma City and said the fans were the best in the league. He said his positive comments about Seattle had nothing to do with OKC.

“I never said anything bad about Oklahoma City,” Collison told Traber. “I said it was 105 degrees, that it was too hot. If people in Oklahoma City are mad at me for saying 105 degrees is too hot, that’s fine.

“I grew up in Iowa,” the Iowa Falls native added. “I detassled corn and hated it when it was hot. I sweat a lot. I’m the sweatiest dude in the league and I don’t like it hot. That’s all I said about Oklahoma City.”

A somewhat combative Traber reminded Collison that at the time of the sale and move of the SuperSonics, Nick said he didn’t want the team to leave the great Northwest.

“Seattle had a team for 41 years. I didn’t feel I should turn my back on all those fans,” Collison said. “We could have moved to my hometown of Iowa Falls and I’d have said I was not excited about the Sonics leaving Seattle. It had nothing to do with where we were going.

“I enjoy my time in Oklahoma City. I loved playing there last year. I was so impressed people came out to the games despite how badly we started. My daughter goes to a great preschool that we were happy to get in.

“I am excited to come back. I think we’ve got an exciting young team. I’ve been working hard on my game to try to contribute to that team.”

Traber never completely backed down, but graciously thanked Collison for his willingness to phone in and discuss the matter.

Collison said the flap wouldn’t affect his “tweeting” in the future.

“Twitter to me is something I just have fun with,” Collison said. “I’m not trying to send any messages to anybody about anything. It’s pretty dumb actually. I just have a good time with it.”

The bottom line? Whoever said talk about the weather is boring is crazy.