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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.
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.
“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.
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.