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Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is reportedly facing a “significant” suspension for violating team rules over allegedly having a consensual, intimate relationship with a female staff member.
The relationship with the staff member “was considered to be a violation of the organization’s guidelines,” ESPN reported Wednesday night. Udoka could reportedly be suspended for the entire 2022-23 season, though his job is not considered to be in jeopardy as of now.
The staff member’s role the franchise was nOt immediately clear.
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Udoka, 45, has been with actress Nia Long since 2010. Long is known for her roles in “BIg Momma’s House,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Love Jones” among others. The two have one son, and she had a son from a previous relationship.
Long told Essence in 2015 that she had no plans to marry.
“Love is complicated, let’s just start there,” she told the outlet. “And then you start a marriage, which I’ve never been married. And there’s a reason for that because I don’t know that I need to say ‘I do’ to prove to you that I love you. But also, what does marriage really [mean]… that you own me now and I own you? I don’t get that part.
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“I understand the religious aspect of marriage. That is beautiful, and it’s fantastical, and it’s dreamy, and it’s every girl’s fantasy to have that moment. But I don’t know that I need that to feel like I’m in a partnership that’s working.”
In his first season with the Celtics last year, Udoka led Boston to the Eastern Conference finals, where his team defeated the Miami Heat to take a trip to the NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors would eventually win.
The Celtics went into the playoffs as the number two seed in the Eastern Conference, going 51-31. Udoka became the fifth coach in the last 25 years to make the Finals in his first year as head coach.
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He was a journeyman NBA player before joining the coaching ranks. He was an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets before taking the Celtics job.