While the NBA season has yet to begin, the Boston Celtics are already in the limelight. While one would think this is because of Boston’s stellar run in the 2021-2022 season, culminating in an appearance in the NBA Finals, the commotion regarding the Celtics has been far from positive.
Rather than discussion about the players who are the backbone of the team, like Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, the attention focused on head coach Ime Udoka.
Having wrapped up his first season coaching Boston this June, he led the team to an Eastern Conference title, falling short in the Finals. Unfortunately, the attention Udoka is receiving is due to some unsavory conduct with another member of Celtics staff. Although all the details have yet to be released to the public, here’s what we currently know:
Ime Udoka was involved in what was first reported as a “consensual relationship” with a Celtic’s team staffer, but now whether this relationship was actually consensual has come into question. The affair was deemed a “violation of organizational guidelines” and resulted in a hefty one-year suspension for Udoka.
Regardless of the facts of the situation, this has been an absolute public relations crisis for the Celtics staff. Media, fans, and even the players themselves have been left in the dark as the organization has blundered its handling of the scandal.
Even Tatum, an integral member of the team, found out about the affair “on Twitter, like everybody else,” as he told reporters at the Celtics Media Day.
Female members of the organization have received immense backlash on social media as users speculate who the affair may have been with. Since the reveal of the scandal, the vast criticism of these women indicates a broader issue of the hardships women in sports face both internally, and in the public eye.
For now, Celtics assistant Joe Mazzula has been named interim head coach for the 2022-2023 season. Mazzula is an interesting pick, as he has no history of NBA head coaching experience. Mazzula went undrafted in the 2011 NBA Draft, and coached Division II basketball at Fairmont State.
Prospects for Boston look wildly different than they did just weeks ago with the change in leadership. Going from an incredibly successful first year with Udoka to a Celtics assistant that is lacking in experience, returning to the Finals just became a much bigger feat for the team.