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Suspended Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka and his longtime partner Nia Long have separated in the wake of a cheating scandal, according to a representative for the former couple.
The development comes several months after the Celtics suspended Udoka for the 2022-2023 NBA season for violations of team policies after he reportedly had an affair with a female staffer in the organization.
“The Boston Celtics announced today that the team has suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season for violations of team policies. A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date. The suspension takes effect immediately,” the team said at the time.
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Head coach Ime Udoka of the Boston Celtics during Game 3 of the 2022 NBA Finals June 8, 2022, at the TD Garden in Boston.
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
According to a report from People, Long and Udoka decided to call it quits on their relationship, but they remain focused on co-parenting their 11-year-old son, Kez.
NIA LONG SOUNDS OFF ON IME UDOKA SCANDAL: ‘IT WAS DEVASTATING, AND IT STILL IS’
Udoka had an “intimate and consensual relationship with a female member” of the Celtics staff, The Athletic previously reported.
The former Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach released a statement shortly after the news broke to apologize to the players, fans and the Celtics franchise.
“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said. “I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”
Nia Long and Ime Udoka attend BET’s 2017 American Black Film Festival Honors Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel Feb. 17, 2017, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Long recently sounded off on Udoka’s scandal during in-depth interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The 51-year-old discussed her feelings of “devastation” that arose from the situation.
“I think the most heartbreaking thing about all of this was seeing my son’s face when the Boston Celtics organization decided to make a very private situation public,” Long said. “It was devastating, and it still is. He still has moments where it’s not easy for him. If you’re in the business of protecting women — I’m sorry, no one from the Celtics organization has even called to see if I’m OK, to see if my children are OK. It’s very disappointing.”
Nia Long speaks onstage during the Ebony Power 100 at Milk Studios Los Angeles Oct. 29, 2022, in Los Angeles.
(Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Ebony Media Group)
Long met Udoka when he was still playing in the NBA. Longtold Essence in 2015that she had no plans to marry, and the pair never married.
Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla is serving as the team’s interim coach.
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The Celtics reached the NBA Finals last season under Udoka’s leadership. The team’s success has carried over into this season. Boston sits at the top of the Eastern Conference with a league-best 20-5 record.