People around NBA ‘strongly’ support Celtics’ Ime Udoka hiring
In the days since the Celtics hired Ime Udoka as head coach, the reviews have been mostly positive. Fans, media members, and former players & coaches have flocked to social media and other outlets to sing Udoka’s praises.
Most recently, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, in an interview with NBC Sports Boston, gave some insight on how the league is taking the news of the former Spurs, 76ers and Nets assistant landing in Boston.
“Talking to different people around the league, some who have worked with Udoka, some who just know him, they are strongly supportive of this hire,” said Mannix.
Udoka had a complex playing career. He played college ball at San Francisco and Portland State, then toured the U.S. and parts of Europe from 2000-2012 making stops at different professional and semi-professional leagues. In 2012, Udoka hung up his shoes and began his coaching career, in which he made three stops as an assistant.
“I think in Ime Udoka you get the best of both worlds,” said Mannix. “You get the ex-player who can relate to players on a level that a Brad Stevens or any coach that didn’t play the game can relate. And you get a guy who paid his dues, whether it was through the [Gregg] Popovich system in San Antonio, working for Brett Brown in Philadelphia, working for Steve Nash and the superstars in Brooklyn.”
The widespread support of Udoka is reassuring for Celtics fans, but what might be even more important is the fact that the new head coach received a stamp of approval from Celtics stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart. All three of them have played for Udoka, who was an assistant for Team USA during the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
“You get a little bit of everything with Ime Udoka, and one of the things that Brad Stevens had going for him as a head coach early on was his demeanor,” said Mannix. “He was a very calm guy on the sidelines, and I think that was an attribute that worked for him. Ime Udoka, you’ll find, has the same attributes.”
Those attributes will be important coming off a season where there was rumored to be some turmoil in the Celtics locker room. Mannix continued on to say, “he was gonna get a job at some point, I think Boston might be getting him at the right time.”
That is not only high praise from Mannix, but from all around the NBA.