The rivalry between LeBron James and Joakim Noah will be renewed in less than a month, as James’ Los Angeles Lakers will take on Noah and the Los Angeles Clippers to start the “bubble” games down in Orlando, Florida.
Noah is no longer the All-Star he was with the Chicago Bulls. However, you can bet that the former Defensive Player of the Year is pumped to be back in the NBA, giving him another chance to go up against LeBron.
The beef between LeBron and Noah dates back to 2010 during James’ first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The King was dancing and mocking the Bulls since the Cavs were blowing out Chicago, and Noah didn’t appreciate LeBron’s antics:
Noah and the Bulls met LeBron and the Cavs in the first round of the 2010 playoffs. Cleveland won the series easily in five games, but Joakim was going to make sure he let everyone around the world know his true thoughts about the city of Cleveland.
During Games 1, 2 and 5 in Cleveland, Cavs fans booed the heck out of Noah due to his history with LeBron, who is Akron’s favorite son. After one of the losses in Cleveland, Noah went off on the city during his postgame press conference:
In the summer of 2010, LeBron was an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career and had an interest in playing for the Bulls.
After the Cavs lost to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2010 playoffs, LeBron called Bulls superstar Derrick Rose and told him he was a big fan of the youngster’s game. Multiple reports at the time said LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were interested in joining Rose in Chicago.
However, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says Noah called LeBron to recruit him to the Bulls, but James never returned Noah’s call since the two didn’t have the best relationship. Rose, meanwhile, wasn’t a big part of the recruiting process.
LeBron, Wade and Bosh formed the Big 3 on the Miami Heat, while Noah, Rose and the Bulls had to settle for Carlos Boozer.
During the 2010-11 season, Rose became the youngest MVP in NBA history (22 years old) and guided the Bulls to the best record in the NBA. Unfortunately, Rose didn’t have a second superstar with him, which proved to be Chicago’s downfall in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron and the Heat.
After winning Game 1 at home in blowout fashion, the Bulls went on to lose four games in a row. After the series ended, Noah called LeBron and the Heat “Hollywood as hell,” although he did give the Heatles credit for winning the Eastern Conference:
The Bulls and Heat met again in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals, this time sans Rose, who was recovering from the ACL tear he suffered in Game 1 of the 2012 playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers.
LeBron and the Heat won the series in five games after the Bulls took Game 1 down in Miami. In Game 2, things got physical between Noah and James, with the former — along with Taj Gibson — getting ejected during a blowout loss for Chicago:
During the 2013-14 season, Noah was in the MVP conversation since Rose suffered another season-ending injury. That’s the campaign the former Florida Gator won Defensive Player of the Year.
In a regular-season game against LeBron and the Heat at the United Center in March, Noah had one of the best games of his NBA career. He never got into it with James, but Joakim did have some fun at the expense of Bosh and Mario Chalmers.
Noah also gave major props to Jimmy Butler for standing up to LeBron:
LeBron returned to the Cavs in the summer of 2014. The Bulls faced off against James in the second round of the 2015 playoffs.
In Game 3 of that series, LeBron put Noah on a poster and talked smack to him. James was called for a technical foul, while Noah responded to LeBron by saying, “F**k you, you still a b***h though.”
Noah refused to stand down to The King:
Noah has a ton of respect for LeBron. The New York native has never liked him, though, and that’s likely going to be the case forever.
It would be neat to see LeBron and Noah go at it during the restart in Orlando, Florida. Most pundits believe the Lakers and Clippers will meet in the 2020 Western Conference Finals.
Meanwhile, LeBron James has career numbers of 27.1 points, 7.4 boards and 7.4 assists with the Cavs, Heat and Lakers.