Top 50: Joakim Noah, no. 43
Oh man, I can hear it now…
Dude, no way Joakim Noah is better than Ray Allen, Gilbert Arenas, Lamar Odom, OJ Mayo, John Wall, Al Horford and Jason Kidd?! Four of those guys are effing All-Stars for crying out loud!! No way!!
It happens every year. Somebody gets ranked too high, too low, or in some cases, gets omitted altogether, and people freak out. So working under the assumption thatJoakim Noah people will have something to say about Joakim being ranked No. 43 in SLAMonline’s Top 50 (because someone almost assuredly will), this is my rebuttal…
Opinions are like a-holes: Everybody’s got one.
SLAM: For Old Time’s Sake: MJ Breaks Backboard
We Reminisce: Michael Jordan scores 19 points in 6 minutes
The NBA, A-through-Z: Jordans
"J" is for "Jordans."
By the time I decided that I wanted a pair of Air Jordans -- "Jordans," in the parlance I grew up with -- I knew more about Michael Jordan than any 8-year-old on the planet. This kid was well-versed.
But, for whatever reason, those things never struck me as something to wear, despite my obsession with the best player on my favorite team.
Keep in mind, that in second grade I was given an after-school talking-to because my teacher caught me actually attempting to write a Michael Jordan 1987-88-era biography in my sticky-bound three-ring notebook during her lectures on proper nouns. I was a freak, and a Bulls supporter nonpareil.
That summer, and I know it's a bit weird, I endlessly rode my bike to stake out Dave Corzine's parents' house, waiting for his black Porsche 911 Turbo to find its way back home, wondering if I'd get another chance to say "yo" to him. I had missed a few months earlier when walking home from school one day -- again, this is no joke -- he jogged quickly past me before I ran home to get my Converse Larry Bird-stamped basketball for him to sign. One time, after spotting the Porsche, I ran home and wrote him a quick letter asking him, among other things, if he was worried about his starting job due to the drafting of Will Perdue a month prior. When he read it aloud after I handed it to him ... let's just say he was far from bemused.
USA Basketball reached out to Joakim Noah, but he wants to play for France
With the thin front line USA Basketball this summer -- a lot of top names said no then Amar'e Stoudemire, Brook Lopez and David Lee couldn't play -- Jerry Colangelo was calling everyone and anyone. JaVale McGee got multiple chances to make the team. Lamar Odom was the starting center. They were looking around.
That included a call to Joakim Noah. But Noah said no, he wants to play for France, according to an interview in a French paper (translated by Hoopsnotes).
"Cameroon (where his great-father is born) and Sweden (land of his mother) also called me," Joakim Noah said to the Journal du Dimanche. "I was pleased to be contacted by Team USA, which searched valid centers. It could have given me the possibility to play with great players. But I repeat it: I want to play with France, it's my dream."
"That would make my great-mother really happy and I want my family to be proud. This summer, I was in a difficult situation. But I'm coming next year and I will use my blue jersey."