OKC Thunder documentary review: How Nick Collison became Mr. Thunder

Nick Collison, OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nick Collison, OKC Thunder (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Over the weekend at the 17th annual DeadCenter film festival the OKC Thunder debuted a short-film documentary about Nick Collison titled “Mr. Thunder”.

On Saturday, June, 9th the OKC Thunder debuted their first team film. Fittingly, the subject was recently retired Nick Collison aka Mr. Thunder himself. Before the documentary began Thunder Basketball Operations Director Matt Tumbleson gave an introduction.

When Tumbleson spoke he revealed the fact Collison had doubts about whether or not people would be interested in the documentary. Tumbleson observed the crowd, then said judging by the turnout, yes fans were highly interested.

Based on my own rough estimation about 2,000 spectators were in attendance for the screening.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic /

Highlights from the film:

Growing to love his nickname

In the film, Nick Collison revealed the origin of his nickname Mr. Thunder. OKC Thunder assistant general manager Troy Weaver first referred to Collison as Mr. Thunder when he was speaking to some children.

As Collison told the story, Weaver used Nick as an example saying “Be like Mr. Thunder” thus the nickname was born. Collison divulged when he first heard the nickname that he cringed.

Collison explained how he thought his teammates would make fun of him, the opposite occurred. Mr. Thunder’s teammates took to the nickname, and Collison reluctantly said it’s cool in the documentary.

Perspective from Mark Bryant

Collison discussed his relationship with Thunder assistant coach Mark Bryant, explaining how they have been together since the last year the franchise was in Seattle.

Bryant explained how many people call Nick Mr. Thunder, Bryant said he prefers to call Collison Dirty. The explanation, as per Bryant is Collison did things on the basketball court others players just don’t like doing.

Collison discussed how he viewed his role on the court as the equivalent of a janitor.

Superstitious pregame routines

Collison discussed he and Westbrook’s very intricate ball routine prior to the team taking the court for shootaround. Once shootaround begins Collison talked about dunking off his right foot, then his left foot, and shooting a three from each corner. When the shot clock would reach the 9:00 minute mark, Dakari Johnson would pass Nick the ball and he dunked off both feet.

Collison said the routine was important because of superstition and to ensure he could still dunk.

Lowlights from the film:

Where did all Collison’s teammates go?

More from Thunderous Intentions

The film offered commentary from two assistant coaches, Collison’s parents, and Nick Collison himself. Yet, the film did not feature any interviews with Collison’s teammates from this past season. I found this aspect of the film strikingly strange.

To this point Russell Westbrook played his entire career with Collison, the fact Russ did not participate in the documentary was unfortunate. However, Russ might not have been asked to take part in the film. Although the film was good, it could have been better if Westbrook or Steven Adams were involved.

The perspective and or stories Westbrook and Adams could have shared about Nick likely would have been priceless. Perhaps we’ll have to wait until Collison’s jersey retirement to hear tails from his teammates.

*Disclaimer no inside information, complete hunch on the OKC Thunder retiring Nick Collison’s jersey.

Length of the Film

The running time of the documentary was just under 30 minutes, considering the film was to celebrate Collison’s career it could have been longer. Furthermore, the OKC Thunder were not required to make this film, it was merely a nice tribute to the team’s longest-tenured player.

Ultimately, the project included two small flaws, length and lack of teammate appearances, besides those complaints the documentary was executed nicely. To anyone unable to attend the initial screening it’s now available on YouTube and can be viewed above.