Boston Celtics Head Coach Ime Udoka has learned his fate after news broke about his affair with a fellow Celtics staff member. While many reporters speculated that the 45-year old coach would face consequences for his actions, the decision from the league became official on Thursday (September 22). According to the organization, the Boston Celtics have suspended the second-year head coach for the entire 2022-23 NBA season for “violations of the team’s code of conduct.”
Head coach Ime Udoka during the 2022 NBA Finals – Michael Reaves/Getty Images
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will serve as the team’s interim head coach in Udoka’s absence. Following the league’s determination, Udoka released a statement via ESPN, saying, “I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down. I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation.”
Elsewhere in the statement, the former Brooklyn Nets assistant coach — and longterm partner of actress Nia Long— took accountability while accepting the NBA’s decision. “I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.” Athletic’s Shams Charania broke the news on Thursday morning that Udoka reportedly “had an improper intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team staff.”
Fans quickly took to social media to defend Nia Long, who has been in a relationship with the coach since 2010, and is the mother of his 10-year old son Kez. One fan tweeted, “Nia Long AINT NEVER been in the news for ANYTHING BUT HER WORK, black women finna send something after him.” Another added, “How you fumble a 2-1 lead AND Nia Long in the same year…”
Nia Long has yet to speak out following the incident. Check out more tweets below.