Last week, news broke that Ime Udoka, head coach of the Boston Celtics and Nia Long’s longtime fiancé, had an improper relationship with a coworker. As a result, he was suspended for the entire upcoming 2022-2023 season.
As usual, many people have weighed in on the matter, and the latest to share his thoughts is NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal. Instead of criticizing the coach, O’Neal is taking the stance that he has no room to judge because he’s been in his shoes before.
“I am going to step down from this conversation. I was a serial cheater,” he said while discussing the matter on The Big Podcast With Shaq. “It would be crazy and blasphemous for me to get up here and say, ‘Boom, boom, bam.’ I can’t do that. I know these guys personally. I know they’re going through a lot because I went through a lot.”
Back in April, the NBA legend admitted that he was the cause of his marriage breaking down. O’Neal was married to Shaunie Henderson between 2002 and 2011 and shares four children with her (her eldest son is from a previous relationship).
He continued to explain why it would be wrong for him to weigh in on the situation coming from a place of condemnation. “I just wish that certain parties weren’t involved. I’ve known Nia Long for a long time and I like her,” he said. “They’re going through a lot of family stuff. I’m never the guy that’s gonna get up here because of my platform and fake it. I did it. I was the best at it and not proud of it at all. I lost my family doing it. I lost valuable, important years of my children from doing it. I’m not that guy. I’m real with the situation.”
Henderson gave love another chance after her divorce from O’Neal. She got remarried to pastor Keion Henderson at the Aurora Anguilla Resort and Golf Club in May of this year.
As for how Long is handling this current situation, she recently released a statement. “The outpouring [of] love and support from family, friends and the community during this difficult time means so much to me,” she said. “I ask that my privacy be respected as I process the recent events. Above all, I am a mother and will continue to focus on my children.”
Udoka and Long met in 2010, have been engaged since 2015, and share a son named Kez together.