Heading back to the court. Nia Long’s ex-fiancé, Ime Udoka, has scored a new basketball coaching job following his suspension from the Boston Celtics.
The former athlete, 45, will take over for Stephen Silas as the head coach of the Houston Rockets for the 2023-2024 NBA season, according to ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, who shared the news via Twitter on Monday, April 24.
Udoka’s move to the Texas team comes less than one year after he was suspended by the Celtics in September 2022 for an an alleged workplace affair with team service manager Kathleen Nimmo Lynch.
“The Boston Celtics announced today that the team has suspended Head Coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season for violations of team policies,” read a press release from the team at the time. The statement noted that “a decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date and that his suspension would take effect “immediately.”
The Oregon native — who shares son Kez, 11, with the Best Man actress, 52 — apologized to the team and its fans in a statement of his own amid the controversy, adding, “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.”
Long, for her part, broke her silence on the scandal that same month. “The outpouring [of] love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me,” she said in a statement to Us Weekly. “I ask that my privacy be respected as I process the recent events. Above all, I am a mother and will continue to focus on my children.”
As the dust settled, the Missing star appeared to keep a positive outlook as she spent time with her sons. (Long also shares son Massai, 22, with ex Massai Z. Dorsey.) In October 2022, however, she seemingly alluded to Udoka’s affair in a cryptic social media post.
“A tip for mental health … learn to distinguish who deserves an explanation, who deserves one answer, and who deserves absolutely nothing,” the Look Both Ways star wrote via Instagram at the time.
The couple officially called it quits in December 2022 after 13 years together. One month later, Long sparked romance rumors with rapper Omarion after he shared pics and videos of them attending the premiere of the Netflix film You People — in which Long starred alongside Eddie Murphy and Jonah Hill. “Important encounters are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other – P.C.- dreamy pull by the goddess @iamnialong such a pleasure. 🙏🏾✨,” the B2K member, 38, captioned a January Instagram post. “So many amazing people in the building.”
Long, however, shut down the relationship speculation by telling fans that in the comments section of another Instagram post that she’s “single AF.”
The NCIS: Los Angeles alum later doubled down on her dating comments, revealing in a February interview with The Cut that she’s “not ready for a serious relationship,” adding, “My mind is not even there at all.”
She continued: “I want to go out and have amazing, important, deep, thoughtful conversations. I want to travel. I want to laugh. I want to cook with my kids and listen to music. I want a good glass of wine. I want a good goodnight kiss. Everything else will have to show itself as being that. I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.”
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