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Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka is reportedly facing a “significant” suspension for violating team rules for allegedly having a consensual, intimate relationship with a female staff member.
The relationship with the staff member “was considered a violation of the organization’s guidelines”, ESPN reported: Wednesday night. Udoka could reportedly be banned for the entire 2022-23 season, although his job is not at risk at this time.
The employee’s role in the franchise was not immediately apparent.
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Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka calls a fourth quarter play against the Golden State Warriors during Game Three of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden on June 8, 2022 in Boston.
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Udoka, 45, has been working 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 a son and she had a son from a previous relationship.
Long told Essence in 2015 that she had no intention of getting married.
“Love is complicated, let’s just start with that,” she told the outlet. “And then you start a marriage that I’ve never been married to. And there’s a reason for that, because I don’t know that I have to say ‘I do’ to prove to you that I love you. But also, what does it do marriage really? [mean]… that you now own me and I own you? I don’t get that part.
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Nia Long and Ime Udoka attend the BET’s 2017 American Black Film Festival Honors Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 17, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.
Honoree Nia Long receives an award onstage at the 15th Annual ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood Awards Luncheon in 2022 at Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel on March 24, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California.
(Rich Polk/Getty Images for ESSENCE)
“I understand the religious aspect of marriage. It’s beautiful, and it’s fantastic, and it’s dreamy, and it’s every girl’s fantasy to have that moment. But I don’t know if I need that to feel to have a partnership that works.”
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 make a trip to the NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors would eventually win.
Nia Long at the World premiere of “The Banker” held at the National Civil Rights Museum on March 02, 2020 in Memphis, Tennessee. “The Banker” hits select theaters on March 6 and premieres on Apple TV+ on March 20.
(Greg Campbell/Getty Images for AppleTV+)
The Celtics entered the playoffs as the runner-up in the Eastern Conference, 51-31. Udoka became the fifth coach in the past 25 years to reach the final 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 job for the Celtics.