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Ime Udoka spoke publicly for the first since his inappropriate relationship with a Boston Celtics staff member went public.

Ime Udoka

Source: Boston Globe / Getty

The Houston Rockets selected Udoke as the next coach after the workplace affair led to his suspension from the Celtics. When the Houston media interviewed him, the Oregon native was asked about his departure from the NBA team,

“I released a statement months ago when everything happened and apologized to a lot of people for the tough position I put them in,” he said.

Udoka was still engaged to actress Nia Long during his entanglement. He added that he feels “much more remorse even now towards” the people impacted as collateral damage in the scandal.

“I spent this last offseason working on myself in a lot of different ways, improving in areas, and it gave me a chance to sit back, reflect and grow,” he claimed. “And I think that’ll make me a better coach and overall a better leader.”

He continued, “Just having that time off and really a full understanding of how many people you impact by a poor decision where you start with the ownership and accountability”.

The head coach said he vowed to “take responsibility for” his actions and refused to be a hypocrite as he tells players and colleagues to do the same.  “I preach that to the players and so I have to take responsibility for my part in it,” Udoka said.

The American-Nigerian underwent  “leadership and sensitivity training” and therapy sessions with his 11-year-old son, Kez Sunday Udoka, whom he shares with Long. The 6’6’er said he wanted “to help him improve the situation that I put him in.”

He asserted,  “You can grow from adversity and I think I’ve done that this year if you spend it in the right direction or take the right steps” and insists “the matter has been resolved”.

He ended the conversation by stating he “can’t really speak much about it” further.

In September, buzz started to spread about NBA teams’ interest in the former player. Rumored franchises with Udoka on their shortlist included the Utah Jazz and Brooklyn Nets.

Udoka violated the Celtics’ team policy when he fraternized with an unidentified White female staff member. Team leadership subsequently suspended him for the 2022-2023 season. Although the relationship was consensual, it was deemed inappropriate and automatically came with serious punishment.

Udoka told ESPN’s Malika Andrews in a statement that he accepted his fate

“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” he said at the time. “I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision.”

Nia and Udoka first met in 2010 after a mutual friend introduced them and welcomed their son in November 2011. The baller put a ring on it in June 2015.
“We both have beautiful careers,” Long stated after Udoka was hired as the Celtics head coach. “The thing that I think makes it work for us is we give each other the space and time to do what we have to do individually, as well as together.”
After the news of his affair broke in September 2022, the two officially split and the Fatal Affair actress issued a statement to People,
“The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me,” she shared. “I ask that my privacy be respected as I process the recent events. Above all, I am a mother and will continue to focus on my children.”
Udoka undboutly “went Eric Benet” and “let the baddest girl in the world get away,” but hopefully, he will redeem his career and win a new trophy this NBA season.


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