Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka has done an amazing job in his first year as an NBA head coach. He’s guided the Boston Celtics to their 22nd NBA Finals and first since 2010. He’s done this by holding players accountable and putting the onus on them to play the right way and for one another.
As his Celtics were in the heat of battle in a roller coaster seven game series against the Miami Heat, a mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas that left 19 children and two teachers dead shocked the sports world and injected a sobering feeling that dampened the joy of everyone’s personal glory that week.
Following his team’s triumphant win, Udoka put things into perspective about the state of the world.
In his postgame presser Udoka has this to say.
“You sit back and think about 19 children and two adults who don’t get that, that’s life or death, that’s real. That’s something that I don’t want to be forgotten … it just happened a week ago, and it seems to be pushed out of people’s memory already.”
Ime Udoka puts things back into perspective and turns attention back to the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. 💚 pic.twitter.com/Isdnh3IfX5
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 30, 2022
Udoka who has a 10-year old son with actress Nia along, knows that could’ve been his own son and he doesn’t want people just moving on as if this is a normal way of life. In that moment, despite reaching the pinnacle of his career, Udoka also showed that there are things which are bigger than sports.
He and several other coaches and played pinned heartfelt messages and pleas to do something about the loose gun laws and regulations in the United States.
Warriors Coach Steve Kerr Shared Those Same Sentiments
Udoka spoke following Sunday’s game, but Warriors head coach Steve Kerr spoke first, prior to his team taking the floor for their Game 5 matchup with the Mavericks. The tragedy occurred just hours before the teams took the floor in Dallas and happened just about five hours outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area of Texas.
Kerr displayed a level passion, frustration, sadness and empathy that you rarely see him coach with.
“I’m fed up. I’ve had enough. … I want every person listening to this to think about your own child or grandchild or mother or father, sister, brother. How would you feel it that happened to you today?”
Kerr And Udoka Will Lock Horns In NBA Finals
The coaching matchup between these two will be fascinating and will stretch farther than X’s and O’s. Kerr has been here before, winning five titles as a player and three as a coach. His acumen for the moment is top-notch and may be the best in the league. He lets his players play and isn’t afraid to throw his younger guys into the mix at all.
As for Udoka and the Celtics, they’ve been battle-tested in this exciting run to the NBA Finals. They won’t be afraid of the GSW dynasty that they’ll be pitted against, but no other team they’ve faced can lay claim to titles, playoff pressure and championship DNA like the Warriors.
There’s only one team with a winning record vs the Warriors under Steve Kerr.
That team is the Boston Celtics. pic.twitter.com/mAEk7ogKfc
— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 30, 2022
Kerr is looking for title No. 4 and Udoka is looking to become the fourth coach to win their first title in their first try since 2015. If he does, he’d join the aforementioned Kerr, Tyronn Lue and Nick Nurse in some pretty exclusive company.