Joakim Noah might be my favorite professional basketball player of all time. Everything about the long-haired center from New York is fun, from how he shoots to the pronunciation of his name.
So whenever Joakim Noah is near, it’s going to be a good time.
Unless, of course, you play for the other team. If you oppose Noah, you’re going to have a rough night.
Noah was a Bad Boy on the court, though never a Detroit Piston. Just ask LeBron James. Sure, Noah never beat King James in a playoff series with the Cavs or Heat, but that doesn’t mean The King liked playing against Noah.
Of course, Joakim fought with KG, too. But we’ll get into that later.
Noah, for all his fun, was a pretty damn good basketball player. Noah’s got jokes, but his skills are sincere. As a result, the wild-eyed loud-mouth became wealthy as a big body. Noah trained from a young age under the tutelage of his father, the former No. 3 tennis player in the world.
Now, only a few months into his retirement, all of Noah’s hard work has paid off in the form of a hefty net worth.
Joakim Noah’s Early Life
Joakim Noah (full name Joakim Simon Noah) was born in New York City on February 25, 1985. Beverly Hills Cop was the No. 1 movie at the box office on the Pisces’ date of birth, but Noah was never a huge fan of Hollywood or the cops.
Joakim is hardly the most accomplished member of the Noah family. His father, Yannick Noah, won the French Open in 1983. His Swedish-model mother, Cécilia Rodhe, was Miss Sweden seven years before Joakim was born. But it doesn’t stop there.
His grandfather won a Coupe de France (the French soccer league’s Super Bowl) in the 1960s. His little sister, Yélena Noah, was a successful model in the 2000s.
Joakim also has a brother named Joalukas and a second sister named Jénayé. The family that founded the Noah’s Arc Foundation has a lot to be proud of, especially their NBA All-Star son. Joakim was raised internationally between New York, Paris, and Sweden. The basketball star is a triple-citizen, though he only represents France in the FIBA World Cup.
France is where young Noah learned le basketball at the French Levallois Sporting Club in Paris.
Joakim played for three New York City high schools: United Nations International School, Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, and The Lawrenceville school. Then, the 6-foot-11 four-star recruit joined the only major program that offered him a scholarship after high school: The University of Florida Gators.
Joakim Noah’s College Career
Jo joined Billy Donovan, Al Horford, and a fully loaded Florida Gators basketball team in 2004.
The 2004-2005 season ended with a loss to the Villanova Wildcats in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Freshman Noah rode the bench behind sophomore Chris Richard despite statistically outperforming the older center. In his next season, Noah would warm the bench no more.
The 2005-2006 Florida Gators squad ran it back deeper than ever before. Noah averaged over 14 points per game, leading the Gators to their first-ever NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. He also led them to the SEC Championship and the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors. The victory led to this joyful moment:
I can’t verify if Joakim is dancing in 2006 or 2007 in that clip, which is a perfect segue to the 2006-2007 Florida Gators.
After defeating UCLA for their first men’s basketball natty, everyone expected Joakim to go pro. But Noah almost always makes the unexpected choice, and college-aged Joakim was no different. He chose to stay in Gainesville.
The Florida Gators ran it back again with the same results. Al Horford, Joakim Noah, and Taurean Green hoisted their second NCAA Championship in a row in 2007 after defeating the favored Ohio State Buckeyes.
Greg Oden and Mike Conley led the Buckeyes, two players who would become famous in the NBA for totally different reasons. After winning the Florida Gators’ only men’s basketball championships to date, Noah declared for the NBA Draft.
The 2007 NBA Draft class was l-l-loaded near the top, led by a chronically top-heavy, destined-to-fail Greg Oden. Noah wasn’t drafted into the NBA as quickly as Oden, but he lasted a helluva lot longer.
Joakim Noah’s NBA Career
Noah’s NBA career was never as successful as his college career. However, he did win an NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, was named to an All-NBA team, won NBA All-Defensive First-Team (and NBA All-Defensive Second-Team) awards, and was named an All-Star, twice.
An incredible career, though one noticeably bereft of NBA championships. Such is life in the LeBron James Era.
The Chicago Bulls selected Noah with the ninth-overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. He joined the Bulls amidst a struggle to find their identity nine years post-Michael Jordan. Noah would help Chicago find their new identity, but it took him several years, point guards, and coaches to do so.
The Bulls tested three head coaches in Noah’s rookie season alone. In 2008, the Bulls hired Vinny Del Negro to coach while drafting a skilled point guard out of Memphis named Derrick Rose. Del Negro spent two seasons coaching the Bulls, posting a remarkably balanced 82-82 record along the way. With Noah and Rose on their way up, Chicago knew they were better than breaking even.
Chi-Town brought in Tom Thibodeau in 2010, and the rest is history. Well, it almost was.
The Bulls had their best season since the 90s during Thib’s first season. They charged into the offseason horns first after an impressive 62-20 regular season. The only thing that could cool Chicago was the Miami Heat, led by their recently purchased Big Three of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
That would be as close as Noah ever made it to the NBA Finals, but Chicago didn’t know that. They extended Noah on a five-year deal.
Noah made his first All-Star team two years later during the 2012-2013 season, but Chicago’s season ended at the hands of LeBron once again. Determined if anything, Noah put up another All-Star year during 2013-2014. However, by then, the Bulls’ resurgence was fading away. The Washington Wizards eliminated Chicago in the first round.
That season marked the height of Noah’s NBA career, and he continued to lose to LeBron for years to come.
(No — I don’t count joining the Clippers in 2020 after they had already made the playoffs as Noah “making the playoffs.”)
Joakim returned to his birthplace to join the Phil Jackson-managed New York Knicks from 2016-2018. Despite a four-year contract, Noah played less than 60 games in New York due to a knee injury, a physical altercation with Jeff Hornacek (his head coach), and a failed drug test.
Then, Noah joined the Memphis Grizzlies for the 2018-2019 season and had a minor comeback. Unfortunately, his slight return to form wasn’t good enough for the Grizz, who released Noah back into the wild at the season’s end. Noah began the 2019-2020 season as an unsigned free agent but ended it in The Bubble.
Noah put in a surprising amount of work in the Orlando Bubble as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. However, when the Clips blew a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets, Noah’s career in the NBA was over.
With no team willing to pick the big man back up, Noah unofficially/officially retired in 2021.
Joakim Noah had an above-average career, but not a great one. However, Noah’s greatness goes beyond stats. Joakim Noah is an all-time great because of his mouth and his mind.
No matter when or where he was, Joakim Noah was always talking shit. And his big mouth led to some of the most entertaining NBA altercations of the last two decades.
USDA-Approved Joakim Noah Beef
The above video is a thorough summation of Noah’s beef with The King. The LeBron James feud is probably the No. 1 reason I regard Noah so highly. When LeBron rolled into the League, so many players just rolled over for him. Not Noah, though. Not once, not ever.
It goes beyond trash talk. Joakim came to fisticuffs with his Knick’s head coach, which is against the rules.
Noah didn’t care who you were: if you had beef, he was going to grill it.
Even as a rookie, he fought the arguably scariest NBA player of All-Time, Mr. “Anything is Possible” himself, Kevin Garnett.
Talk about two bulls going at it. And speaking of old bulls going at it: here’s Noah fighting KG’s old teammate and recent ex-ESPN employee Paul Pierce in a preseason game.
We could do this all day. Joakim Noah was always DTF (“down to fight”), no matter when, where, or the opponent.
It was that same aggressive attitude that landed the center in the NBA. It was the same aggression that made Noah a multi-millionaire.
Joakim Noah Net Worth
During his time in the NBA, the carnivorous Noah shelled out more than $3 million in NBA fines. What a legend.
And speaking of legendary, Noah shares his celebrity net worth with his wife Lais Ribeiro, the Victoria’s Secret model who he asked to marry him at Burning Man.
I can’t think of a more appropriate ending to a story about Joakim Noah, one of the wildest NBA players of all time.