Jaylen Brown lobbied for Celtics to hire black head coach
The Boston Celtics hired Ime Udoka this summer to be their next head coach, and their All-Star swingman appears to have had a say in the pick.
Celtics star Jaylen Brown said in an interview this week with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that he told Celtics ownership and management that it was important to hire a black head coach after former coach Brad Stevens left his post to become the team’s head of basketball operations.
“They were on board with it,” he said. “They talked about it. It wasn’t like it was just about being African-American. [Udoka is] more than qualified.”
The 44-year-old Udoka has nine years of experience as an NBA assistant. He began on Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio and won an NBA title there. Udoka had already been coveted as a head coach even prior to last season.
Spears notes that the NBA had seven African-American head coaches among its 30 teams last season despite the league being approximately 75 percent black. Now there will be 13 African-American head coaches heading into the 2021-22 season. Udoka will be among them, but he is not the first black head coach in Celtics history, as some people apparently believe.