“He’s a Very Good Friend”: Months After Ex-Celtics’ Boss Ime Udoka’s Controversy Legendary NBA Coach Drops Honest Admission

Published 01/08/2023, 5:30 PM EST

Former NBA player turned coach Ime Udoka was on cloud nine not very long ago. He was coming off a brilliant season with the Boston Celtics in which he led them to the NBA finals. Although they lost out to the Golden State Warriors, fans all around the world lauded Udoka and the team’s efforts. Just prior to the 2022-23 NBA season, Udoka was caught up in some major controversy that affected his future.

He was suspended by the team for violating its policies and this brought in criticism from all around the world. Despite all the controversies, legendary NBA coach Gregg Popovich still is a good friend of Udoka. Recently, he opened up on his relationship with the suspended coach having also coached and worked with him in the past.

Legendary Spurs coach addresses his relationship with Ime Udoka


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Ime Udoka has the rare distinction of leading his team to the NBA finals in just his first NBA season. In spite of all his successes, the team decided to suspend him for the 2022-23 NBA season after he was accused of violating the team’s policies.

He was accused of being in a consensual intimate relationship with a woman employed by the franchise. During a press conference, he apologized for his actions and accepted the team’s decision.

Months after this controversy, Gregg Popovich has come out openly and talked about Udoka. According to him, the two are still very good friends and the controversy will not affect their relationship. Popovich said while talking about his relationship with Udoka, “He’s a very good friend. He always will be.”


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Popovich and Udoka have a long history of working with each other. Udoka served as the assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs from 2012 to 2019 working under coach Pop. Additionally, he was also the assistant coach of the 2020 USA Team coached by Pop which won the gold medal.

Udoka had a short stint playing under coach Pop as well


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Prior to kickstarting a career in the coaching industry, Ime Udoka spent some time in the NBA as well. He had a rather short stint in the league playing 7 seasons with various teams.

Udoka spent 3 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs from 2007 to 2010. He played 160 games for the franchise averaging 4.5 points, 0.8 assists, and 2.7 rebounds.


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Abhinava Ghosh

1414 articles

Abhinava is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication. Abhinava has been following NBA for the past 6 years and is a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry.