Philadelphia 76ers have hired Ime Udoka and Joseph Blair as assistant coaches, the team announced today.
“I am excited and proud to welcome Ime and Joseph to our program,” said 76ers Head Coach Brett Brown. “The depth of basketball knowledge and experience that each brings to our bench will be integral in furthering the success we have enjoyed over the last two seasons.”
“Our players will continue to develop and improve under their direction and they will help me strive to guide our team toward our ultimate goal of winning a championship.”
Udoka joins Brown’s staff after spending the last seven seasons on San Antonio’s bench under Gregg Popovich, where he was part of a coaching staff that led the Spurs to the 2014 NBA title over Miami. In both 2013 and 2014, Udoka served as the Spurs’ Summer League head coach.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with Brett in Philadelphia,” Udoka said. “He has done a great job building a respected program and I look forward to joining his staff. This is a wonderful opportunity and I embrace the challenge of taking the next step in my career. I am excited to get to work and help this extremely talented roster continue to achieve success at the highest level.”
Prior to coaching, Udoka enjoyed a 13-year playing career, including seven seasons in the NBA. He appeared in 316 games (80 starts) for San Antonio, Sacramento, Portland, New York and the Lakers, averaging 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 18.1 minutes per game. He posted career highs with 8.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 2006-07 with the Blazers. He also played professionally in Spain, France, Argentina, the NBA G League, the United States Basketball League (USBL) and the International Basketball Association.
A Portland, Oregon native, Udoka earned NBA G League First Team honors, as well as the Jason Collier Sportsmanship Award in 2005-06 while playing for the Fort Worth Flyers. Udoka has played internationally for the Nigerian national team in several FIBA tournaments, earning bronze medals at AfroBasket 2005 (Algeria) and AfroBasket 2011 (Madagascar). He played college basketball at the University of San Francisco and Portland State.
Blair most recently served as the head coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the G League affiliate of the Houston Rockets, and led the team to the 2019 G League title over the Long Island Nets. He originally joined the Rockets organization as an assistant with Rio Grande Valley in 2015, after spending two seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, Arizona.
“I’m honored and excited to work alongside Brett, this staff, and team, as well as being a part of such a historic, respected, and energetic organization,” Blair said. “I look forward to learning, growing, and adding value, all while producing positive results for the city and the organization.”
Blair’s professional career spanned from 1996-2009 and included stops in France, the USBL, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Russia. He also performed with the Harlem Globetrotters. Blair spent four years at Arizona, where he averaged 14.7 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game for the Wildcats as a senior. Following his collegiate career, he was drafted No. 35 overall in the 1996 NBA Draft by Seattle.
More than 15 years ago, Blair founded the Blair Charity Group, which seeks to change the lives of the country’s most vulnerable youth. The group and its partners, through the Arizona Basketball Academy, provide access to world-class basketball camps and clinics for thousands of underserved youth in southern Arizona.