Nia Long shared her gratitude with Stephen A. Smith Friday after the sports pundit spoke out in her defense regarding her ex, Ime Udoka, publicly addressing his affair with a Boston Celtics employee while dating Long.
“Even if they’re not together, that is the father of her child,” Smith, 55, began on his Know Mercy podcast regarding the couple’s split since knowledge of the affair went public. “If you mention him and another woman, inevitably, she’s going to come up. How come nobody thought about the sister? How come they just left her out there standing on her own? I will always defend her. I will always defend her on this issue. It was- how could you do that?
“You didn’t have to do it that way,” the talking head continued. “But to have a press conference and put this business tacitly or otherwise on Front Street, you didn’t think about Nia Long at all. But you thought about the other woman, who purportedly was white. And the one woman in this equation who was innocent and victimized was not the woman that Ime Udoka was messing around with. It was Nia Long. She was the one screwed over!”
Within his comment section, Long, who shares one son with Udoka, thanked the ESPN vet for defending her honor.
“Thank you @stephenasmith for your support. TBC…” she wrote, later adding the quote “‘The most disrespected person in America is the black woman’ – Malcolm X.”
Long has also called out how the Boston Celtics handled the affair, telling The Hollywood Reporter back in December 2022, “I think the most heartbreaking thing about all of this was seeing my son’s face when the Boston Celtics organization decided to make a very private situation public,” adding “It was devastating, and it still is. He still has moments where it’s not easy for him. If you’re in the business of protecting women — I’m sorry, no one from the Celtics organization has even called to see if I’m OK, to see if my children are OK. It’s very disappointing.”
Udoka’s most recent press conference was intended to highlight his new gig as head coach of the Houston Rockets, however he also took the time to address his departure from Boston due to “violations of team policy,” saying, “It was their right to go about it however they wanted to and that’s the choice they took,” HuffPost reports.
He added that he was required to take “leadership and sensitivity training, and some counseling with my son to help him improve the situation that I put him in. You can grow from adversity, and I think I’ve done that this year.”