Doc Rivers happy Joakim Noah has found a home with Grizzlies
Count Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers among those happy to see that Joakim Noah has found a new NBA home after signing with the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. Noah played his first game this season on Thursday in a winning effort against Rivers’ team, tallying four points and three rebounds in 13 minutes.
Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic wrote a heartfelt story on the relationship between Rivers and Noah, including what they have to say to each other after Noah’s debut with the Grizzlies.
It’s fitting that his first game in Memphis was against the man who literally gave him his first shot in the NBA.
“I’m happy for him,” Rivers said before the game Wednesday. “I saw him in the hotel yesterday and we had a good talk. I know his dad, you youngins know nothing about that so I’m not even going to go there. I’m just happy. He’s one of those guys who have always played the game with a great joy, made the best of what he has. You like seeing him in the league and playing him again.”
Sankofa also notes that Yannick Noah, Joakim’s father, was a great tennis player and a long-time friend of Rivers. Doc played for the New York Knicks back then and it appeared that he was the one who gave a ball to a young Joakim, who then took a jump shot right on the Madison Square Garden court.
Noah and Rivers would find their career paths intersect as they went up against each other during the Chicago Bulls-Boston Celtics playoff duels just several years back. Still, Noah has nothing but respect for the champion coach.
Fans remember the battles on the court, but there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that they may not know about, Noah said.
“There’s a level of respect in those kind of wars,” Noah said. “It reveals things out of you, that you might not know you have. You might be so tired, and you push through in ways that are unexplainable.”
Noah’s Grizzlies and Rivers’ Clippers are currently among the best teams in the Western Conference this season.