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updated: 4/29/2013 10:18 PM

Back where it all began for Bulls' Noah

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  • Joakim Noah (13) steals the ball from Nets center Brook Lopez (11) in the first half of Game 5 of their first-round playoff series on Monday.

    Joakim Noah (13) steals the ball from Nets center Brook Lopez (11) in the first half of Game 5 of their first-round playoff series on Monday.
    Associated Press


Joakim Noah spent his teenage years living in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, but he also has a history in Brooklyn.

For two years, Noah attended Brooklyn Poly Prep, a school that basically sits at the entry to Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. Needless to say, that's a long trip from Midtown.

"I used to take the cheese bus, but I missed the cheese bus a lot and the R Train all the way to Bay Ridge was tough," Noah said.

By cheese bus, Noah means a typical yellow school bus. Poly Prep would actually send one all the way to Noah's building, but the driver apparently thought the student could use a lesson in being punctual.

"It was really annoying, because if I wasn't there right on time, he would leave me," Noah said with a laugh. "What was his name, that guy, the bus driver? He was not a good guy."

Noah actually went to three different high schools. He started at the United Nations International School, a K-12 campus which bills itself as the most diverse student population in the world with 122 countries represented and 55 percent of students from families affiliated with the UN.

Things didn't work out for Noah at UNIS, and it was probably just as well when it comes to his basketball career.

"They're more into soccer, you know," he said. "I was at the United Nations school at first and got in trouble a lot there. Then got my life together, went to Poly Prep, started taking basketball a little more seriously. It was a good school, Poly Prep. Shout out to Poly Prep."

Noah's final year of high school was at a boarding school in New Jersey, making the school bus irrelevant.

"I didn't really do anything my sophomore year at UNIS, so I had to do my sophomore year all over again and you can't play basketball in your fifth year," Noah said. "I had to do a post-grad year."

His experience in Brooklyn is another reason why Noah has raved about the chance to visit the borough during the NBA playoffs.

"I love it," he said. "Everywhere I look in the crowd, there are just so many people I grew up with, friends, family. I'm never taking none of that for granted. Being able to play in front of everybody. There's nothing better. It's what it's all about."

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