What Joe Mazzulla Texted Ime Udoka After Ex-Celtics Coach Lands Rockets Job

'Happy for him in the sense that second chances are important'


Apr 25, 2023

BOSTON — Even the news of former Boston Celtics head coach reportedly landing with the Houston Rockets took Joe Mazzulla briefly away from his playoff preparation.

Mazzulla, who was an assistant last season during Udoka’s one and only campaign with Boston before taking his spot as head coach, made sure to reach out to Udoka as the coach gets back on his feet following an unceremonious exit with the Celtics. The organization issued Udoka a season-long suspension just before the start of the season for violations of team policies that stemmed from an improper workplace relationship.

But like a couple of his players, Mazzulla made sure Udoka knew he was pleased to see him get another shot on a NBA sideline.

“Happy for him in the sense that second chances are important, grace is important, forgiveness is important,” Mazzulla said prior to the Celtics taking on the Atlanta Hawks in Game 5 on Tuesday. “I’m a product of a second chance and I think it’s important to have that in society. I texted him congratulations and that I was grateful just for the time that I had to learn from him as a coach.”

Udoka’s actions that caused him to lose his job with the Celtics opened up the door for Mazzulla, who was the youngest head coach in the NBA this season and had his own past transgressions he overcame while playing college basketball at West Virginia. The Celtics completely cut ties with Udoka just before the All-Star break when they shed Mazzulla of the interim label and named him the 19th head coach in franchise history.

While Mazzulla offered his support for Udoka, he still has his eyes on trying to get the Celtics back in the spot Udoka got them in last season, albeit with a different ending this time around.

Thumbnail photo via Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports Images
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