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  The past few years have seen Nigeria witness remarkable success on the basketball front, especially with the senior male and female national basketball teams. However, certain individuals have stood out and put Nigeria on the global map as a country with great basketball talents.
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The appointment of Ime Udoka as the head coach of the NBA side, Boston Celtics, saw him make history as the first Nigerian to coach an NBA team. Udoka who is the 18th coach in the 75-year history of the organisation was born on August 9th, 1977, in Portland, Oregon, United States, and started his collegiate career at Utah State University Eastern from 1995-1997 before transferring to the University of San Francisco (1997-98), and later Portland State where he finished (1999-00). Udoka played professional basketball for 12 years (2003-04 to 2010-11), featuring in the NBA for seven seasons with teams like San Antonio, Portland, Sacramento, New York, and the Los Angeles Lakers. During his playing days in the NBA, Udoka in 316 career games averaged 5.2 points on 41.7% shooting (35.6 per cent three-PT), 2.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 18.1 minutes. At the international level, Ime, who is the brother of former D’Tigress captain, Mfon Udoka, featured for the Nigerian national basketball team, D’Tigers, winning bronze medals in the 2005 and 2011 editions of the African Championships. Prior to his appointment as Celtics coach, the Nigerian-American spent the last nine seasons in the NBA as an assistant coach for teams like San Antonio (2012-13 to 2018-19), Philadelphia 76ers (2019-20), and Brooklyn Nets (2020-21).
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In all nine seasons, the teams that the Nigerian served as an assistant coach for have made it to the playoffs in addition to an NBA championship with San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Udoka also served as the assistant coach for the United States national men’s basketball team in 2018. Celtics President of Basketball Operations, Brad Stevens, had words of praises for the Nigerian tactician after he agreed to lead the NBA powerhouse.
‘I would like to welcome Ime, Nia, Kez, and Massai to the Boston Celtics.  Among the many outstanding qualities that Ime brings to the table are his character, humility, and competitiveness.  He has a relentless work ethic and a vast array of experiences as a player and coach. He’s a leader that is warm and demanding, and we are so excited that he has chosen to join us in pursuit of Banner 18.’ Brad Stevens
Reacting to his appointment, Udoka described it as “an ideal situation” as he looks forward to his time as an NBA coach.
‘It’s an honour to be a part of the historic Celtics franchise. Coaching this talented roster and working alongside Brad makes it an ideal situation. I’d like to thank Wyc, Steve, and Brad for entrusting me with this opportunity. I look forward to getting started right away.’ Ime Udoka
Sources: Guardian NG Wikipedia Featured Image Source: Nairametrics
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This article was first published on 10th July 2021


I am a Lion, I love to hit heights that seem impossible so I can motivate others and prove doubters wrong. For me, impossible is nothing. I'm open to learning and I love to read, travel and meet new faces.

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