‘Awareness and change needs to be made,’ says Celtics coach Ime Udoka in the wake of the Uvalde shooting

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While Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka is by no means a clone of the man he cut his coaching teeth under with the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant, Udoka is much like Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich when it comes to social concerns and making use of their platform to support ones they believe matter.

And such was the case on Sunday when Udoka met with the media ahead of Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Finals; asked whether he’d heard Popovich’s speech pleading for action on gun control at a fundraiser for the victims of the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting, the Celtics coach admitted he hadn’t.

“But, I know how passionate he is about a lot of these issues,” he said. “And so for me, it’s really something that I spoke about after the Miami (Heat) game.”

“We play a game that, when you’re elated, you feel great about it,” added Udoka. “You lose, you’re devastated for the moment, but it’s not life or death, I still go on.”

“And so the awareness is really about things that are continuing to happen, in our communities, and they’re devastated by it, their families are devastated. And we go on with our normal life and business. And so just to continue to keep those thoughts in mind, and (that) those people are struggling and it continues to happen.”

“Awareness and change needs to be made. And we’re all on the same page as far as that,” explained Udoka.

For many of us, sports has long been a place of escape where we can block out our stress caused by the rest of the world’s events for a few hours, and the intrusion of that outside world into sports in the form of such speeches from NBA head coaches can be jarring and unwanted.

But we, unlike the families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence, always have the option to forget — and that is exactly the point Udoka and Popovich are trying to make.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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