Ime Udoka: The Celtics suspend their coach for a year for his consensual relationship with a co-worker | Sports | The USA Print


In June, Ime Udoka was a hero in Boston, the coach in whose first season at the helm he made the Celtics of basketball dream of bygone glories by leading them to the NBA finals, their first in 12 years, which they ended up losing to the Golden State Warriors. At this point in September, Udoka is an uncomfortable piece in the puzzle of one of the most traditional franchises in the United States. The Celtics have suspended the coach for the 2022-2023 season for a relationship with a co-worker. She is spoiled, but breaks the rules of the organization. The news of the sanction, which is unprecedented for an active coach in the history of the NBA, was confirmed by the team this Thursday night through a statement, in which it can be read that “the decision about his future with the Celtics [más allá de esta temporada] it will be taken later” and that “the suspension is immediate”.

Shortly after the announcement was made known, Udoka responded through ESPN, a network specialized in sports information that advanced the news on Wednesday night: “I want to apologize to our players and fans, to the entire Celtics organization and to my family for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will not comment further.”

This is not good news for the coach, but neither does it seem good news for the team and its fans, who were heading into the season, which starts on October 18, among the favorites to win the ring and thus break the 17-title tie with their rivals of all life, Los Angeles Lakers. His replacement will be second in command Joe Mazzulla, who has been with the Celtics since 2019 and rose to the top assistant job when Will Hardy left last June for the Utah Jazz.

Udoka, who finished fourth last season in the voting for the NBA’s best coach, made his debut on the Celtics’ bench a year ago. He came to replace Brad Stevens, who accepted an executive position at the top of the franchise (President of operations) after the departure of Danny Ainge. The now suspended Udoka, 45, had previously spent time with the San Antonio Spurs, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets, always as an assistant coach. Before that he was a player in a career of little fortune that took him to the Spanish league, where he played for the teams of Gran Canaria and Murcia.

In Boston he crowned an extraordinary season, which, however, started limping. This year was the time to reap the rewards with a young team that he knew how to unite and that is now hanging by a thread.

Udoka has been in a 12-year relationship with actress Nia Long, whom you may remember from her role in the popular series The prince of Bel Air, alongside Will Smith.

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