Joakim Noah claims he doesn’t hate Lakers’ LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James has long beefed with former Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah. Noah, who last played in the NBA in 2018-19 with the Memphis Grizzlies, often faced James during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Now Noah, 34, a former Defensive Player of the Year, is explaining his feud with James, claiming he doesn’t exactly “hate” the three-time champion and current Lakers star.
Noah and the Bulls lost to James and the Heat in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals (Derrick Rose’s MVP season), the 2013 semi-finals, and to LeBron’s second Cavs stint in 2015 in the semi-finals. Essentially, James haunted Noah’s living nightmares, with little progress made in the postseason without James impending the two-time NCAA champion and Florida product’s path.
Noah later joined the New York Knicks in 2016-17 after nine seasons with the Bulls, with Rose joining him in the Big Apple for a single season via trade. That did not work out well, and the Knicks eventually waived Noah and used the stretch provision, paying the two-time All-Star a significant salary until 2021-22 even while he is likely still out of the league.
Noah had a small resurgence playing for the Grizzlies last season for 42 games, averaging 7.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 16.5 minutes per game.
Despite Noah regaining some of his former glory, James continues to shine in Hollywood, coming off his latest All-Star Game victory and leading the Lakers to the top spot in the Western Conference at the age of 35.