Ime Sunday Udoka (/ / EE-may oo-DOH-kə; born August 9, 1977) is a Nigerian-American professional basketball coach and former player who is the head coach for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA), currently suspended by the team for the 2022–23 season. He represented the Nigeria national team during his playing career.
|Position||Head coach (suspended)|
|Born||August 9, 1977|
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
|Nationality||American / Nigerian|
|Listed height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Listed weight||220 lb (100 kg)|
|High school||Jefferson (Portland, Oregon)|
|NBA draft||2000 / Undrafted|
|Number||5, 8, 3|
|2002–2003||North Charleston Lowgators|
|2004||Los Angeles Lakers|
|2005–2006||Fort Worth Flyers|
|2006||New York Knicks|
|2006–2007||Portland Trail Blazers|
|2007–2009||San Antonio Spurs|
|2010–2011||San Antonio Spurs|
|2012–2019||San Antonio Spurs (assistant)|
|2019–2020||Philadelphia 76ers (assistant)|
|2020–2021||Brooklyn Nets (assistant)|
|Career highlights and awards|
As assistant coach:
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||1,635 (5.2 ppg)|
|Rebounds||926 (2.9 rpg)|
|Assists||308 (1.0 apg)|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Udoka started his professional basketball career by playing in the NBDL with the Charleston Lowgators who drafted him with 39th overall pick in 2002 NBDL Draft. He was called up to play with the Los Angeles Lakers on January 14, 2004, but was later waived. After a stint in Europe, Udoka returned to the United States and once again drafted in NBDL. This time he was drafted third overall by the Fort Worth Flyers in 2005 NBDL Draft. He averaged 17.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game with the Flyers. On April 6, 2006, Udoka was signed by the New York Knicks. Udoka was waived by the Knicks on September 11, 2006.
Udoka was the last player invited to his hometown Portland Trail Blazers' training camp before the 2006–07 season, getting the invitation only after Aaron Miles failed a physical. Despite the death of his father during the preseason, Udoka impressed the coaching staff with his defensive skills and made the team. After having played in only 12 NBA games in his career, Udoka started in 75 games played in the 2006–07 season. He played 28.6 minutes per game while averaging 8.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 0.9 steals.
In 2007, Udoka signed a contract with the San Antonio Spurs. He played in 73 games averaging 5.8 points and 3.1 rebounds in 18 minutes. On his second season with the Spurs, Udoka played in 67 games, and started in three. He averaged 4.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 15.4 minutes.
Following the 2009 season, Udoka became a free agent, eventually re-signing with the Trail Blazers. He was waived by the Blazers on October 22, 2009, but signed with the Sacramento Kings on November 4, 2009. He played 69 games with the Kings, averaging 3.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in 13.7 minutes.
San Antonio Spurs (2012–2019)
In August 2012, Udoka joined the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach for Gregg Popovich. Udoka would win his first championship as the Spurs defeated the Miami Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals, 4–1.
Philadelphia 76ers (2019–2020)
In June 2019, Udoka was hired as an assistant coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. Udoka's head coach on the 76ers, Brett Brown, also coached under Gregg Popovich for the Spurs, and Udoka and Brown were on the same staff in the 2012–13 season.
Brooklyn Nets (2020–2021)
Boston Celtics (2021–present)
On June 28, 2021, Udoka was hired as head coach of the Boston Celtics, becoming the fifth head coach of African origin in Boston Celtics history. Though the Celtics began the season 18–21, Udoka led them to a 51–31 record, finishing as the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics won the Eastern Conference title and made their first NBA Finals appearance since 2010. The Celtics lost in six games to the Golden State Warriors.
On September 22, the Celtics suspended Udoka for the entirety of the 2022–23 season for violations of team policies, pertaining to an improper intimate relationship with a female Celtics staff member. Though the relationship was originally believed by the organization to be consensual, the woman later accused Udoka of making unwanted comments towards her. Udoka issued an apology after the suspension was handed out. He chose not to resign from his position as a result of the violation, though Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Udoka is not guaranteed to stay with the organization following the 2022–23 season. Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla took his place as the interim head coach.
National team career
Udoka was a player on the Nigerian national team. At the 2006 FIBA World Championships, Udoka led Nigeria in scoring, assists, and steals. Udoka also played for Nigeria in the 2005 and 2011 FIBA Africa Championships, winning a bronze medal in both tournaments.
Udoka has served as an assistant coach for USA Basketball under his Spurs head coach, Gregg Popovich. Udoka's coaching role on the 2019 FIBA World Cup team helped him build relationships with Celtics players Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart, who advocated for his hiring as the new Boston head coach. Udoka also coached for Team USA under Popovich at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, along with Celtics assistant Will Hardy.
Udoka's father was of Nigerian descent, which qualified the younger Udoka for Nigerian citizenship. His older sister, Mfon, played in the WNBA. His mother, who died in late 2011, was an American from Illinois.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Head coaching record
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win–loss %|
|Playoffs||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win–loss %|
|Boston||2021–22||82||51||31||.622||1st in Atlantic||24||14||10||.583||Lost in NBA Finals|
- "Source: Celtics hire former Trail Blazer Ime Udoka as new coach". kgw8.com. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
- "Celtics hire Ime Udoka as next coach". www.nba.com. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
- "2002-03 NBDL Draft Board". NBA.com. October 31, 2002. Archived from the original on August 15, 2007. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "2005 NBA D-League Draft Board". NBA.com. November 3, 2005. Archived from the original on December 2, 2010. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- Monroe, Mike (August 13, 2007). "Spurs: Udoka agrees to contract". mysanantonio.com. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "Nigeria - Former Viking Ime Udoka makes his way". FIBA.basketball. February 16, 2007. Archived from the original on March 27, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "Spurs add Blazers' sniper Udoka". ESPN.com. August 16, 2007. Archived from the original on March 27, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "Ime Udoka Career Stats Page". NBA.com. Archived from the original on August 31, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "Trail Blazers Sign Ime Udoka". NBA.com. September 25, 2009. Archived from the original on September 28, 2009. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "Udoka, Collins waived by Blazers". ESPN.com. October 22, 2009. Archived from the original on March 27, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- Quick, Jason (October 22, 2009). "Ime Udoka: 'I thought these times were behind me ...'". oregonlive.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "Kings sign Ime Udoka". FOX Sports. November 4, 2009. Archived from the original on March 27, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "Spurs Sign Ime Udoka". NBA.com. November 24, 2010. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "Spurs Waive Ime Udoka". NBA.com. January 5, 2011. Archived from the original on January 8, 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "NETS Sign Ime Udoka". NBA.com. December 15, 2011. Archived from the original on January 23, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- Castillo, Jorge (December 24, 2011). "Nets finalize roster by waiving Ime Udoka, keeping Linwood native Dennis Horner". NJ.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "Udoka firma por el UCAM Murcia". ucamdeportes.com. January 5, 2012. Archived from the original on March 27, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "Ime Udoka Joins Spurs Coaching Staff". NBA.com. August 28, 2012. Archived from the original on April 8, 2014. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "LaMarcus Aldridge: Ime Udoka got the Spurs deal done". Sports Illustrated. August 24, 2015. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- Pompey, Keith (June 7, 2019). "Sixers hiring Ime Udoka to become lead assistant coach". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on June 7, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- "Brett Brown". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
- "Brooklyn Nets Announce Coaching Staff". NBA.com. October 30, 2020. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
- "Celtics Name Ime Udoka 18th Head Coach in Franchise History". NBA.com. June 28, 2021. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
- "Boston Celtics to hire Ime Udoka: Brooklyn Nets Assistant to be named new coach, per report".
- "Celtics hire Nets assistant Ime Udoka as next coach". NBA.com. June 28, 2021. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
- "New Celtics head coach Ime Udoka's path from Nigeria to Boston". Andscape. June 28, 2021. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
- Kasabian, Paul. "Celtics' Ime Udoka Says 'the Future Is Bright' After NBA Finals Loss to Warriors". Bleacher Report. Retrieved June 17, 2022.
- "Boston Celtics Suspend Head Coach Ime Udoka". Boston Celtics. September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
- Wojnarowski, Adrian (September 21, 2022). "Sources: Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka facing season-long suspension for relationship with member of franchise's staff". ESPN. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
- Golen, Jimmy; Reynolds, Tim (September 22, 2022). "AP sources: Celtics considering suspension of Ime Udoka". Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 22, 2022. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
- Quinn, Sam (September 23, 2022). "Celtics address Ime Udoka's one-year suspension for violating team policies: Takeaways from Boston's presser". CBS Sports. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
- Kasabian, Paul (September 22, 2022). "Celtics' Ime Udoka Suspended for 2022-23 Season Following Alleged Affair with Staffer". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
- Himmselbach, Adam (September 22, 2022). "Celtics to suspend coach Ime Udoka for a year, will make Joe Mazzulla interim coach". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
- "Who is Ime Udoka? Four things to know about Celtics' next head coach". www.sportingnews.com. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
- Helin, Kurt (June 23, 2021). "Report: Celtics to hire Ime Udoka as new head coach". ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
- "How Celtics fans can watch Jayson Tatum, Team USA play this week". RSN. Retrieved August 31, 2021.
- Mazzeo, Mike (December 15, 2011). "Udoka dealing with tragedy". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- Finn, Natalie (November 10, 2011). "Nia Long gives birth to her second son". today.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- Mackie, Drew (May 26, 2015). "Nia Long Is Engaged to Ime Udoka". people.com. Archived from the original on March 8, 2017. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- Nessif, Bruna (May 27, 2015). "Nia Long Engaged to Longtime Boyfriend Ime Udoka—See the Ring!". E! News. Retrieved May 8, 2021.
- Grant, Jasmine (July 24, 2020). "Exclusive: Nia Long Explains Why She's Not A Fan of Marriage". Essence. ISSN 0014-0880. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved May 8, 2021.