Drafted in ninth overall in the 2007 NBA draft, Joakim Noah became a beloved fan favorite during his time with the Chicago Bulls thanks to the heart, hustle and muscle — as Stacey King likes to say — he consistently brought to the hardwood each game.
He was a key player during the Bulls’ success in the early 2010s. Led by Derrick Rose in his prime, the Bulls finished atop the league standings for the 2010-11 regular season with a 62-20 record. That same season, Rose was named the league’s MVP. Then head coach Tom Thibodeau was also selected as Coach of the Year.
Noah discussed this time of his Bulls career during a recent episode of the Knuckleheads Podcast with former NBA players Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson.
While Noah noted how proud he was to be have been a part of the Bulls’ achievements then, he mostly raved about Rose and his MVP season. He spoke fondly of the All-Star point guard’s athleticism, scoring ability and the lack of answers that defenses had for him.
“They had nothing for him,” Noah said of Rose, who is currently with the New York Knicks, and the difficulties of guarding him. “There was nothing like him.”
Noah also elaborated on the fact Rose is Chicago’s own and was the top overall pick in the 2008 draft. This then made the entire experience all the more significant — for everyone.
“The energy in that building in that time was just, it was so special,” Noah said of the United Center home crowd during Rose’s MVP run.
Another point of emphasis that Noah took time to make in light of the success Rose experienced as an individual was that the Chicago native remained humble. “That kind of energy” is why Noah and Rose continue to be close.
“I love him to this day,” Noah said.
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A Summer Reunion
Noah and Rose reunited over the summer for workouts. The reunion was documented by Chicago-based photographer Oscar Castillo.
The duo played together on the Bulls for eight seasons. They also were both a part of the Knicks during the 2016-17 season, which was the last time the pair played on the same team.
Noah to Make A Bulls Comeback?
In March of this year, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Noah would be retiring from basketball. The plan is that he will formally retire as a member of the Bulls — similar to how another Bulls fan favorite Luol Deng concluded his playing career. In fact, Noah was in attendance at the game where the Bulls honored Deng.
No further news regarding Noah’s retirement as a Bull has been reported. However, not long after Noah’s retirement news first broke, he attended a Bulls game at the United Center.
During the Knuckleheads Podcast, Noah briefly mentioned his return to Chicago and how “just driving by that arena” made him reflect on his time there.
“The amount of times, the amount of days I used to get to this arena and just be geeked,” Noah said. “I’m talking about ready to run through a wall. You know what I’m sayin’? You couldn’t say s*** to me on game day. Like, I was an animal.”