Nia Long opens up about fiancé Ime Udoka’s Boston Celtics hiring
Hollywood superstar Nia Long has disclosed that her fiancé and former Nigeria D’Tigers captain Ime Udoka was the epitome of calmness when he got the phone call confirming him as the head coach of the Boston Celtics.
Perhaps more than any other team in the National Basketball Association, the Boston Celtics – 17-time champions of the world’s foremost basketball league – have reshaped their organization. Of all the changes that have occurred over the last several months, though, the Celtics’ coaching switch was arguably the biggest as they handed Udoka the task of restoring the Beantowners’ lost glory.
Despite the enormity of it all — not to mention the fact that the Celtics post is Udoka’s first NBA head-coaching job — the former captain of the Nigerian men’s national basketball team and long-time assistant coach was apparently calm when he got hired. At the least, that’s what his partner, Long, observed.
While one might expect there to be champagne and fireworks the very moment Udoka learnt of his appointment, Long revealed that his reaction was pretty understated. She also disclosed that she was actually the one who flipped out.
“I’ll never forget the moment,” Long said in an October 25 interview with PopCulture. “We were sort of waiting for the call all week. I was anxious. He’s always calm, like totally calm. I’m cleaning, folding laundry, cooking, because I’m just so nervous. I had to keep myself busy. And I was on a call and I got off the call. I was actually on a call about ‘The Best Man’ and I got off the call. And I looked down the hallway and he just smiled and shook his head in the yes position. And I ran down the hall and jumped on him.”
Long, who got her Hollywood break in John Singleton’s 1991 American coming-of-age hood drama film ‘Boyz n the Hood,’ joked that her big response nearly did Udoka in.
“I think I almost, probably, broke his back,” she said. “Extra 15 (pounds) from COVID (lockdown) is not easy to catch.”
Before landing the Celtics job, Udoka was an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets. He also spent time as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers and the San Antonio Spurs. And Long, who started dating Udoka when he was still an NBA player, and got engaged when he was a Spurs assistant coach in 2015, believes that her beau is ready to face whatever comes his way with the Celtics.
“I think he’s going to kill it,” Long said. “He’s one of the most disciplined people I know. He’s worked really hard for this and now he’s got to just get to work with his players and do what he does best. So, it’s an exciting time for our family to be able to sit in the stands. And now it’s like, oh my gosh, he’s the head coach. And I met him when he was a player and I’ve seen him go through three different teams. And so, now it’s his turn. So it’s good.”
The real question may be whether or not Long will make it to the Garden to see Udoka do his thing in person. After all, Hollywood is always calling.
“Oh my gosh. I’ll try to be there as much as I can,” she said of attending games. “He’ll be in Boston. I’m in New York City because we’ll be shooting ‘Best Man’ here. The most important thing for me is that we keep our family as together as we possibly can.”
The Celtics defeated the Rockets 107-97 on Sunday night in Houston to record their first win of the 2021/2022 season and have since gone on to defeat the Charlotte Hornets 140-129 on Monday night.