Ex-Nigerian basketball player Ime Udoka takes NBA by storm as Celtics boss

A Nigerian-American Ime Udoka has taken the National Basketball Association (NBA) by storm as coach of the Boston Celtics.

Born in Portland, Oregon, US on August 9, 1977, Udoka represented the Nigeria national team during his playing career. He was appointed head coach of the Celtics in June 2021.

Udoka is already being touted as coach of the year who transformed the Celtics into the league’s best defense and righted an 18-21 start to Boston’s season with a 33-10 sprint to the finish.

On Monday night, the 44-year-old outsmarted his former boss Steve Nash, to lead his team to a 2-0 first-round series lead in the playoffs against Brooklyn Nets.

Just two seasons ago, Udoka was the understudy of Nash at the Nets.

The Nigerian-American studied for seven seasons under decorated coaching legend Gregg Popovich and another season as an assistant coaching Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons on the Philadelphia 76ers.

Udoka’s father, who was of Akwa Ibom descent, was born in Nigeria and died in 2006, which qualified Udoka for Nigerian citizenship. His older sister, Mfon, played in the WNBA. His mother, who died in late 2011, was an American from Illinois.