Since 2010, Nia Long has been in a relationship with now-retired NBA player Ime Udoka, and in that time, she’s been by his side as he’s moved from playing on the court to helping coach on the sidelines. He’s been the assistant coach for a few teams, including for his former organization, the San Antonio Spurs, and most recently, the Brooklyn Nets. But Udoka is about to have his chance to lead as head coach of not just any team, but the Boston Celtics, who are a constant presence in the playoffs and stacked with talent.
On Monday, June 28, it was announced that Udoka had been named the new coach of the storied franchise, their eighteenth in 75 years. The announcement of his hiring also included a mention of the actress, their son Kez and her eldest son Massai.
“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,” Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said in a statement. “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.”
“It’s an honor to be a part of the historic Celtics franchise,” Udoka said of his new role. “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.”
Long is over the moon about her partner’s opportunity as she has been a staunch supporter of Udoka’s work in the league. When the Spurs won a championship in 2014 and he was given his championship ring, she wrote on Instagram, “This moment makes every big sacrifice a pebble in the road. #familyfirst.” Now she’s cheering him on with the rest of the Internet.
The two have been quite the power couple but have somehow also managed to keep their relationship low-key. In 2011 they welcomed son Kez, who was featured adorably with the star and big brother Massai on the cover of ESSENCE in 2012. The pair got engaged in 2015 but Long told us in 2020 that fans shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for them to actually get married because she’s not a fan of wedlock.
“I understand the religious aspect of marriage. That is beautiful and it’s fantastical and it’s dreamy and it’s every girl’s fantasy to have that moment. But I don’t know that I need that to feel like I’m in a partnership that’s working,” she said.
What the couple have is working and we love to see the glimpses she shares of their relationship. In celebration of this new post of Udoka’s and their Beantown takeover, check out a gallery of images of the two and their beautiful family from over the years.