New York City has always held a special place in Joakim Noah’s heart
Long before Joakim Noah was winning national titles with the Florida Gators and dominating the interior for the Chicago Bulls, he grew up in New York City as a fan, like so many other kids, of the Knicks.
His father and former tennis star, Yannick Noah, discussed his excitement for Joakim to be back home playing for their team.
“It means the world to him,” the elder Noah said of Joakim joining the Knicks. “We used to go to the Garden when he was a kid, watching games, watching Patrick [Ewing] play. To know that he’s going to play in the Garden, we feel so blessed. He’s preparing hard. He has a lot of hope and he can’t wait. And I’ll be there.”
During his nine years in Chicago, Noah won a Defensive Player of the Year award and served as the heart and soul for one of the best teams in the NBA. Injuries to key players derailed their championship aspirations, but now he has a fresh start in NYC, along with Derrick Rose.
His dad Yannick is confident in the makeup of the roster:
“It’s a great team,” Yannick Noah told The Post. “If they find the chemistry, I think it’s a great team. I think he’s very happy to have his friend [Rose] here and a lot of great players. He feels very privileged and very honored to play for Phil Jackson, too. I used to give him all of Phil’s books. He read all the books.”
“You have to take whatever is given to you,” Yannick said. “He was very happy in Chicago. Now it’s changed and he has this opportunity to come to New York. So he’s not taking it for granted, believe me. He can’t wait to play and compete and dominate for the Knicks.”
Some guys struggle to acclimate to playing in a big city like New York. That won’t be a problem for Joakim.
Not only did he play in the country’s third largest market in Chicago; he’s right in his element in his home of NYC.
“He knows the city,” Yannick Noah said. “He was born here. It’s not like he’s coming from the countryside and he’s coming to New York City. He lived here for a long time. Of course, it can be dangerous for an athlete. But he knows and he’s so motivated. It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s going to give all he has for the city.”
In just a couple months, we’ll get to see what Joakim has to offer for his childhood team.