The Boston Celtics’ current series against the Milwaukee Bucks has been a battle. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum usually make headlines, but the coaching and team-oriented play in the series has been phenomenal. Neither team has been able to win back-to-back games in the series, as both teams have made adjustments to counter their opponent.
Boston went from doubling Antetokounmpo in Game 1 to playing him one-on-one with Al Horford and Grant Williams. Milwaukee has adjusted their rotation throughout the series, switching between heavy minutes for guys like Grayson Allen, Bobby Portis, George Hill, and Jevon Carter. It’s safe to say that both coaches have had their hands full.
Despite this, Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green isn’t happy with the way credit has been doled out. During a rant on Twitter, Green pointed out the lack of exposure Udoka received on Sportscenter compared to Mike Budenholzer.
Green noted that the show discussed Budenholzer and then went on to show multiple Celtics players speaking after Game 6. However, there was no mention of Udoka. The Warriors star elaborated on the issue further in response to a Twitter user.
Green Says Black Coaches Are ‘Never Respected’
One Celtics fan replied to Green’s tweet, saying that Boston doesn’t get the respect from the national media that they deserve. However, Green responded, explaining that the problem has nothing to do with the Celtics. Instead, he pointed to a deeper issue, explaining that Black coaches in the NBA (and in sports) never get the respect they deserve.
Green used the example of Rich Paul, the second-most prominent agent in the NBA. Despite his personal success, he is commonly referred to simply as ‘LeBron James’ agent.’ But Green explained how wrong this denotation is.
As for Udoka, the first-year head coach just wrapped up an amazing campaign with the Celtics, finishing fourth in Coach of the Year voting. The award won by Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns, another Black head coach. However, Williams is just the second Black head coach to take home the award in the past 13 years. The other was Dwayne Casey, who won it as the Toronto Raptors head coach in 2018 (despite being fired before receiving the honor).
The Warriors All-Star isn’t the only NBA player who has taken issue with the way things are run. In fact, when the Celtics were in the process of finding their new leader this past summer, Jaylen Brown stressed the importance of hiring a Black head coach.
Brown’s Message to Celtics Ownership
As the Celtics embarked on their search for a new head coach, Brown made his desires known. The All-Star guard stated that representation is important, and in the end, Boston listened. Marc J. Spears of Andscape (formerly The Undefeated) reported on this story this past summer.
“Brown told The Undefeated that he told the Celtics ownership and front office last offseason that it was important to hire a Black head coach after Brad Stevens was promoted to president of basketball operations,” wrote Spears. “The Celtics seemingly listened, hiring former NBA player Ime Udoka, who was a Brooklyn Nets assistant last season and has nine years of coaching experience, on June 28.”
The 2020-21 NBA season began with just seven Black head coaches in the NBA. Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, called the statistic ‘disgraceful.’ However, that number ballooned back up to 14 after seven Black head coaches were hired this past offseason (out of eight potential job openings).
Considering roughly 75% of NBA players are Black, the league still has some work to do. And according to Green, improvements are also needed when it comes to representation in the media.