You don’t have to go far down the list before hearing the name Joakim Noah when it comes to the best players in Bulls history.
On Thursday, Noah will be honored before Chicago’s game against New York for all the blood, sweat and tears he left on the court in a Bulls uniform. Chicago is off to a 4-0 start and will be energized by Bulls fans at the United Center. They will certainly make sure that your guest of honor feels the love of the “Windy City”.
Many former Bulls players traveled to Chicago Wednesday for a pre-ceremony party before Thursday’s game. Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, Tony Kukoc, and Brad Miller made appearances. Current Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau and Taj Gibson also made it through the festivities.
Noah spent nine seasons in Chicago from 2007 to 2016. During that period, he was a three-time Defensive Team member and a two-time All-Star. He won the Defensive Player of the Year award and made the NBA first team in 2014.
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What they are saying about Joakim Noah
Before Noah’s big night, the Bulls released a video with many former teammates expressing what Noah meant to the franchise. These are some of the best quotes from the video.
Derrick Rose, former Bulls teammate: “Joakim is full of charisma. He shows love to everyone. He touched the city in a different way. Like some of my friends, I’m not his favorite player in the team, it was Joakim Noah, but I couldn’t say nothing because that’s older brother “.
Cecilia Rodhe, mother of Joakim: “He always said I play for that guy (pointing to the sky) with the broom up there, that’s him. And that relationship was important to him. So all those efforts he made on the court made sense. I think Chicago is very true. People recognized Joakim as authentic. The love was real, the hustle was real, the intention was real. … Everything that Chicago does, Chicago was presented by this team because they had a very authentic relationship with each other. It was very deep. “
Sam Smith, Bulls.com: “He turned simple energy into skill. His joy for the game, his enthusiasm, and his commitment to it, actually almost turned into a high level of skill that you couldn’t have explored or imagined.”
John Paxon, Bulls Senior Advisor: “He’s, to me, the most genuine player I’ve ever been with. There’s no fake in that guy and I think that’s one of the things that our fanbase ended up loving about him, it’s what we love about him.”
Kirk Hinrich, Bulls legend: “Jo, his energy when he walks on game day, it rubbed off on everyone and he brings out the best in everyone. You play all these games and if you feel good, you don’t feel good, watching him prepare on game day, the energy to see “He’s going to make it. It just rubs off on you and you can’t help but try to bring in the same level of energy or you’ll feel embarrassed. He’s the kind of guy who plays so hard all the time.”
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.