Celtics assistant Damon Stoudamire opens up about his conversations with Ime Udoka

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Ime Udoka called Damon Stoudamire and asked if he would be one of his top assistants with the Celtics before even taking the job. The two Portland, Ore. natives are so close, they even spend time with each other’s families when the other isn’t around.

In a recent interview with the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, Stoudamire opened up about his conversations with Udoka amid his one-season suspension. More than anything, Stoudamire says he’s just trying to check in on a friend.

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“You’re talking about a relationship that dates back 30 years,” he said. “It’s bigger than sports. I just try to make sure that he’s all right. The biggest thing is he’s my friend. Things happen. Things have happened to me. The one thing I thought about this whole time is that regardless, you can get in a dark place and you get lonely. The most important thing is that he’s keeping his mind right, keeping perspective and is able to look back on this situation and grow from it.”

The Celtics suspended Udoka days before the regular-season for inappropriate workplace behavior. He had engaged in an improper romantic relationship with a female subordinate.

While Stoudamire says Udoka is proud of his former players, watching their success probably stings. The Celtics are 35-12 so far this season under interim head coach Joe Mazzulla.

“I think that everything that happens to you, when it hits you like this it can really get overwhelming,” Stoudamire said. “So that’s what I check on him about. I check on him to make sure he’s doing all right, and make sure his son is good, and that he’s able to find some type of peace within what he has going on. As a human being when you do something, you beat yourself down. And with the success that we’re having now, it’s human nature, man. You’re sitting there; you’re watching [the team]. I just think the biggest thing is that he’s able to, in his own way, come to some kind of resolution and peace in his mind so he can move forward.”

Udoka’s suspension expires at the end of the 2022-23 season. The Celtics haven’t provided clarification on his future with the club beyond that point.

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today Sports