Celtics head coach Ime Udoka’s fiancé Nia Lengthy ‘was BLINDSIDED by his affair with a feminine staffer’
Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka’s longtime fiancé Nia Lengthy was reportedly blindsided by his reported affair with a feminine member of the workforce’s employees, leading to his year-long suspension, although the membership had confronted him with its investigation months in the past.
Lengthy, the 51-year-old former Recent Prince of Bel-Air star, had moved to the Boston space two weeks in the past with the couple’s 10-year-old son and had lately been home looking with Udoka, in response to TMZ.
She reportedly was unaware of the allegations till the previous couple of days, although the Celtics had been investigating the matter with Udoka’s data for months, TMZ experiences.
Now, via her spokeswoman, Lengthy is asking for privateness.
‘The outpouring of affection and assist from household, associates and the neighborhood throughout this tough time means a lot to me,’ Lengthy instructed TMZ via her spokeswoman. ‘I ask that my privateness be revered as I course of the latest occasions. Above all, I’m a mom and can proceed to concentrate on my kids.’
Udoka, the Celtics’ second-year head coach with a once-sterling status, was suspended for the entire upcoming season on Thursday over ‘a number of’ unspecified violations of workforce guidelines. He additionally suffered a “vital monetary penalty.’
Reviews say the 45-year-old had an improper, however consensual relationship with a feminine member of the workforce’s employees, but that hardly explains why Udoka is being sidelined for 2022-23, and doubtlessly longer. Within the workforce assertion naming assistant Joe Mazzulla as interim coach, Boston stated Udoka’s future can be decided ‘at a later date.’
Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka’s longtime fiancé Nia Lengthy was reportedly blindsided by his reported affair with a feminine member of the workforce’s employees, leading to his year-long suspension, although the membership had confronted him with its investigation months in the past
Udoka guided the Boston Celtics to the NBA Finals in his first season because the workforce’s head coach
The state of affairs is puzzling, not solely as a result of Boston is sidelining a coach that guided the workforce to the NBA Finals in his first season, but additionally as a result of the Celtics have turned an ostensibly non-public and reportedly consensual relationship right into a public matter – one thing that ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has seized upon Friday.
‘My subject is you’ve gotten his private enterprise publicized all around the airways,’ Smith stated, whereas questioning why a suspension was vital.
Celtics legend Paul Pierce, too, argued on Twitter that Udoka’s punishment ‘ought to simply be a positive not a suspension.’
The Athletic raised questions in regards to the relationship Thursday night time, reporting that Udoka was accused by the girl of constructing ‘undesirable feedback’ to her, prompting the Celtics to launch inside interviews that in the end led to his suspension.
Additional complicating issues is Udoka’s murky relationship with Lengthy.
One report, from Bally Sports activities, claims the couple was ‘separated previous to the present subject,’ however the two seemed to be on good phrases as lately as Might, when the previous Recent Prince of Bel-Air tweeted video of herself dancing in celebration as his Celtics certified for the Finals.
Then there was Udoka’s personal assertion Thursday, which made a cryptic reference to disappointing his family members: ‘I need to apologize to our gamers, followers, your complete Celtics group, and my household for letting them down.’
Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce stated the Udoka ought to simply be fined and never suspended
The Celtics had been set to open coaching camp on Tuesday as a logical favourite to achieve the Finals as soon as once more, and doubtlessly compete for an NBA-record 18th championship.
As a substitute, Boston is now confronted with questions of management, whereas Udoka is combating to avoid wasting his once-promising profession.
Udoka’s profession, till now, had been a story of perseverance.
He wasn’t blessed with nice bodily presents, however his love for the sport and 6-foot-6 body had been a robust basis as he grew up in Portland, the place he in the end befriended future NBA star and his assistant with the Celtics, Damon Stoudemire.
‘Rising up, one of many issues I used to encourage me to get to the NBA was no matter my friends had been doing, I used to be going to do the alternative,’ Udoka instructed The Athletic in April. ‘Everyone is out partying? Kicking it? Hanging out? I’ll open fitness center. I did not go to promenade. I did not go to commencement. I used to be on the fitness center.’
He performed at three faculties earlier than graduating from Portland State College and in the end beginning his skilled profession within the NBDL with the Charleston Lowgators.
Temporary stints with the Los Angeles Lakers, French groups, and G-League groups would observe, earlier than Udoka started seeing extra motion with the New York Knicks, Portland Path Blazers and, ultimately, the San Antonio Spurs.
It was in San Antonio, below coach Gregg Popovich, that Udoka developed right into a dependable perimeter defender.
‘My factor was to at all times assume the sport,’ Udoka stated. ‘And if you cannot do this, you out-will your extra expert opponent by being bodily and mentally harder.’
After taking part in briefly for Sacramento and later returning to San Antonio, Udoka obtained probably the most coveted jobs in teaching as an assistant to Popovich.
The 2 would win an NBA Title collectively in 2014, and Udoka would quickly come to embody the Popovich ethos of teaching.
‘He assimilated with the Pop philosophy,’ an NBA government instructed the New York Put up in 2020. ‘Udoka is an individual very pushed, meticulous, laborious on himself. He is a perfectionist.’
Popovich gushed about his protégé in 2015, telling ESPN: ‘He exudes a confidence and a consolation in his personal pores and skin the place folks simply gravitate to him.’
Coach Pop additionally gave Udoka a back-handed praise by joking that he is a teetotaller.
‘The one factor I do not like about him is that he does not drink, so I can not get pleasure from a glass of wine with him,’ stated Popovich. ‘He is actually boring at dinner.’
Udoka rapidly grew to become one of many hottest assistant teaching prospects within the NBA, getting prestigious gigs on the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets’ benches, earlier than getting employed by former Celtics head coach-turned-president Brad Stevens in Boston earlier than the 2021-22 season.
On the time, former Udoka colleague Kirk Goldsberry tweeted that Boston made a ‘nice rent.’
Preliminary returns, nonetheless, weren’t good.
Regardless of the presence of All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Boston struggled for a lot of the primary half of Udoka’s first season and round .500 till January, when gamers started taking his classes to coronary heart to complete the common season, 51-31.
‘He undoubtedly set a tone,’ Celtics guard Payton Pritchard instructed The Athletic. ‘That is Ime to a T. That is what we wanted.’
The Celtics then steamrolled via the primary spherical of the playoffs, sweeping the hated Nets in 4 video games earlier than hard-fought seven-game sequence victories over the defending-champion Milwaukee Bucks and top-seeded Miami Warmth.
The six-game NBA Finals loss to the Warriors however, Udoka’s inventory could not have been larger coming into the low season. A younger coach coming off a Finals look in his first season was probably taking a look at a major elevate in a renegotiated contract, Smith stated Friday.
‘Meaning he was within the place to get his wage tripled,’ Smith stated.
However for the entire positivity created by Udoka’s first yr as Celtics head coach, the Celtics have confronted one impediment after one other within the low season.
Free-agent acquisition Danilo Gallinari tore the ACL in his left knee over the summer time, and earlier this week it was revealed that beginning middle Robert Williams would wish arthroscopic surgical procedure to wash out his left knee. Williams is predicted to overlook between 4 and 6 weeks, however Gallinari could possibly be out for considerably longer.
Extra urgent is the state of affairs going through Mazzulla, a comparatively unknown amount heading into the season.
The previous head coach at Division II Fairmont State, Mazzulla is a neighborhood man, who hails from Rhode Island. He performed collegiately below Bob Huggins at West Virginia, the place he was as soon as suspended for home battery in 2009.
Now 34, Mazzulla is being counted upon to be the reply in Boston, although he is solely slated to have the job for the subsequent season.
‘Joe goes to be in It isn’t simple timing for him or the remainder of the employees,’ Celtics president Brad Stevens stated at Friday’s press convention. ‘However he is an exceptionally sharp and gifted particular person and I imagine strongly in him and his potential to guide folks, his potential to provoke a room and get behind him and his potential to prepare and perceive all that comes with working a workforce throughout a season. He has actually good occur on husband employees.’