Pride of North Kerby

The Boston Celtics defeated the Brooklyn Nets tonight in American pro basketball. It was the fourth straight win in a best-of-four series, and so the Nets are out. Not everyone expected Boston to win this round of the playoffs, and essentially no one predicted a four-game sweep. And so it's big hoops news around the country.

It's an even bigger basketball story in Portland, although from the local media you'd hardly know it. The rookie head coach of the Celtics, Ime (pronounced "EE-may") Udoka, is a Portland native, raised here, and a graduate of Jefferson High. He played for a few different colleges, finishing his college career at, and graduating from, Portland State. Udoka went pro and played in the NBA for a while, including for the Trail Blazers. That's where I once saw him up close, dutifully signing autographs in the parking garage after a game.

I think it was 2007. It was definitely one of those "ambassador of the game" moments. The big name players of the day, now forgotten, headed straight to their hot cars. Udoka hung around with the people from the cheap seats.

He went into coaching, serving as an assistant in various places, especially San Antonio, and now he's the head coach in Boston. That's one of the greatest Portland sports stories of our lifetimes right there, so put a period. 

But then add to it that his squad just swept Brooklyn. Good for them, and good for Udoka.


  1. And he is assisted by Damon Stoudamire and Aaron Miles, from the same part of town.... good people, all of them...


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