Noah wanted to write better ending after rough time in New York

  • Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez (42) and Memphis Grizzlies center Joakim Noah (55) go for the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Chicago. The Bulls won 122-110.

    Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez (42) and Memphis Grizzlies center Joakim Noah (55) go for the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Chicago. The Bulls won 122-110. Associated Press

Updated 2/13/2019 9:58 PM

Earlier this season, Joakim Noah watched a Bulls game from a suite at the United Center.

He joined the action Wednesday, taking the court for the Memphis Grizzlies. Noah received a standing ovation from the relatively sparse crowd at the UC when he checked in late in the first quarter.


Noah signed with the Grizzlies on Dec. 4, not long after he visited Chicago. Before the game, he talked about his return to the NBA after a rough ending in New York.

"It was definitely tough, but everybody goes through adversity," Noah said. "There's a lot of life lessons that go with playing this game and it's made me a stronger person. I don't regret those times, because they've made me who I am today."

Noah played in just seven games last season for New York. He went from Jan. 23 to Dec. 5 without playing in a game and was eventually bought out by the Knicks.

"Yeah, there was a time when I didn't know if I was going to be able to keep playing," he said. "I had two surgeries, a shoulder surgery and a knee surgery and I was dealing with my suspension (for use of a banned substance) all at the same time. There was definitely a time when I didn't want to play basketball anymore, so I'm happy I got out of it and I'm happy I'm able to compete tonight.

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"The main reason is I didn't want to leave the game like that. I feel like I worked too hard my whole life to end it like that and I wanted to be at peace. I hadn't had peace on the court for years. I wasn't enjoying playing basketball any more.

"My daughter's able to watch me play. My people are able to watch me play and I can end this thing on my note."

Noah enjoys reunion:

Joakim Noah has plenty of pleasant memories about his nine seasons with the Bulls. He talked about reuniting with Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson and Luol Deng in Minnesota not long ago.

"Just to see my guys happy, I think that's what it's all about," Noah said. "I know we've all gone through a lot. We all have our different journeys, but those guys are my brothers for life. I think there's even championship teams that don't even have that kind of bond. So it was a special bond. I'm just happy to see my old teammates doing well."

This was Noah's third trip back to the United Center as a visiting player, making two previous visits with the Knicks.

"The years here in Chicago were just so special," he said. "I feel like I learned so much. In that 10-year span, we were really going for it. We were going for the championship and I felt there were a couple years there where we really had a chance."


Portis talks trade:

Bobby Portis went a little more in-depth about leaving the Bulls in an interview with Portis said that, after hearing rumors, he instructed his agent to talk to the Bulls and was assured that unless some team offered a superstar, he wasn't going anywhere.

Plans change, though, as Portis discovered about a half-hour before taking the floor for the Bulls last Wednesday.

"My heart dropped. My stomach dropped," Portis said about being told the news. "I didn't know what to think. I went back to the locker room and I was just hugging everybody, shaking everyone's hand. Everybody was in shock because nobody knew I was going to be traded. That wasn't even a thought anyone had considered because they loved me there. It was a crazy feeling."


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