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Ime Udoka's mask is garnering more attention than the Celtics' playoff run

Joshua Rogers June 13, 2022
ime udoka mask covid vaccinated
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

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The Celtics are on an incredible playoff run having swept the Brooklyn Nets and knocked out defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks. They are currently taking on the Warriors in the NBA Finals, but Ime Udoka’s “chin” mask seems to be the main focus of attention.

The Boston Celtics have been one of the best teams in the NBA this season and are into their first NBA Finals since 2010. The C’s are currently taking on Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors for an NBA championship.

Boston have excelled under the direction of head coach Ime Udoka, who only took the job in June 2021. However, despite their impressive playoff run this season, Ime Udoka’s mask continues to be a subject of online discussion.

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Ime Udoka’s mask situation is getting serious attention whenever the Celtics play

The Celtics head coach is a calm and collected figure on the sidelines during games. However, Ime Udoka’s mask, which he often wears under his chin during games, has been the topic of much discussion online:

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Throughout this year’s playoffs, fans have taken to Twitter to share their confusion over why Udoka wears his mask the way he does.

A quick Twitter search during virtually every Celtics game will reveal a number of puzzled tweets:

He has been wearing the mask during press conferences

Udoka has never publicly addressed why he wears his mask like that, although he does sometimes pull the mask above his chin when talking to players in-game:

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Celtics head coach has also been wearing the mask during press conferences. Here he is wearing one after the Celtics won Game 4 against the Miami Heat in the ECFs:

Celtics have been hit by covid throughout the season

The Celtics have been hit by covid at various points in the season. In September 2021, Udoka tested positive for covid and, although his symptoms were minor, he still had to self-isolate. Per The Boston Globe, Udoka was vaccinated at the time. However, not all the Boston Celtics staff and players were.

“Guys have been informed and educated pretty rigorously on all of the vaccination benefits and it’s a personal choice that guys have to make on their own,” Udoka said (per The Globe). “We’d love to have close to 100 per cent if possible and obviously avoid certain situations. But, like I said, guys have to make a choice at the end of the day.”

Covid has been a recurring issue for the Celtics all season. Al Horford entered the NBA’s covid-19 health and safety protocols and missed Game 1 vs the Heat.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

What Udoka has said previously about wearing a mask

Udoka is likely to be wearing the mask whenever possible to protect himself and his players. However, in January he did reveal if he were to miss time due to the virus assistant coach Will Hardy would take over as interim head coach.

“Everybody works together, has each other’s back, so if something does happen we’re covered as far as that,” he said (via NESN).

“You don’t just chalk it up and say ‘hopefully I get it and get it out of the way’. You’re trying to be careful at the same time,” he said. “At times you’re shaking your head that another guy pops up positive and I’ve been exposed to him. Once you’re in the game, you’re in the game. You’re not really thinking about it like that.

“The one thing I have done is worn my mask when I’m sitting down as much as I can and just consciously remember that. It’s nothing that you’re going out of your way but you do have to be safe and be smart any chance you can.”

Who do you think will the NBA Finals, the Celtics or the Warriors? Let us know in the comments below!

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.