Before the start of a new season, a piece of news completely shook the NBA and the sports world. The Boston Celtics, one of the most successful franchises and finalists in the last tournament, officially announced the suspension of the coach Ime Udoka.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the coach was facing possible disciplinary action for “violating internal rules” of the Massachusetts institution. Later, journalist Shams Charania added that the former Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings, among others, “had an inappropriate intimate and consensual relationship with a female member of the team’s staff,” something that the franchise considered inappropriate and outside the codes of conduct.
“The Boston Celtics announce that the team has suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-2023 season for violating team guidelines. A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date. The suspension takes effect immediately,” the club confirmed in a statement.
Almost simultaneously, the Celtics coach broke the silence. “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, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will not comment further,” he commented.
The news also had repercussions in the entertainment world, since Udoka has been in a relationship since 2010 with actress Nia Long, who rose to fame for his participation in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, alongside Will Smith and in Boyz in the Hood. Together they had Kez Sunday, in November of the following year.
Given this scenario, added to the fact that his main assistant, Will Hardy, became coach of the Utah Jazz, the season of the Boston Celtics could be commanded by Joe Mazzulla. The 34-year-old comes from training in different NCAA Div. II universities.
Ime Udoka, after seven years as an assistant to Gregg Popovich in the San Antonio Spurs, plus one season in the Philadelphia 76ers and one in the Brooklyn Nets (also as an assistant), took charge of the Massachusetts team in the 2021-22 season, in the one that took his team to the finals after 12 years of waiting.
Although they fell 4-2 to the Golden State Warriors in the tournament definition, before they won against Jimmy Butler’s Miami Heat, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks and Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets. In the regular phase they culminated with a record of 51-31.
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