Boston Celtics Hire Ime Udoka As New Head Coach

The Boston Celtics have hired a new coach, Nigerian-American former NBA player, Ime Udoka, making him the 18th head coach in the organization’s 75-year history.

Udoka, who’s father is of Akwa Ibom descent and his mother a Illinois native, played 12 years of professional basketball, including seven seasons in the NBA from 2003-04 to 2010-11. He played for San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. He also represented Nigeria in international competition throughout his playing career, earning bronze medals in 2005 and 2011 at the African Championships.

He is engaged to Hollywood actress Nia Long, who featured in films such as “Boyz n the Hood,” “Soul Food,” and “The Best Man”. They welcomed their first child, Kez Sunday Udoka, in November 2011. In May of 2015, the couple announced their engagement.

“I would like to welcome Ime, Nia, Kez and Massai to the Boston Celtics. Among the many outstanding qualities that Ime brings to the table are his character, humility and competitiveness. He has a relentless work ethic and a vast array of experiences as a player and coach,” said Brad Stevens, president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics in a statement. “He’s a leader that is warm and demanding, and we are so excited that he has chosen to join us in pursuit of Banner 18.”

Udoka joins the Celtics franchise after spending the last nine NBA seasons as an assistant coach between San Antonio (2012-13 to 2018-19), Philadelphia (2019-20), and Brooklyn (2020-21). Teams that Udoka has served as an assistant coach on have qualified for the playoffs in all nine seasons, with one of those years resulting in an NBA championship (Spurs, 2014).

In addition to his coaching experience in the NBA, Udoka was also an assistant coach for Gregg Popovich and the USA Basketball Men’s National Team in 2018.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the historic Celtics franchise. Coaching this talented roster and working alongside Brad makes it an ideal situation,” said Udoka. “I’d like to thank Wyc, Steve, and Brad for entrusting me with this opportunity. I look forward to getting started right away.”


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