Joakim Noah began his NBA career with the Chicago Bulls and enjoyed some of his greatest successes there. The Bulls made sure on Thursday that he will be a part of the franchise going forward as well.
Noah was named a Bulls ambassador and was set to be honored by the team before Thursday’s home game against the New York Knicks. The No. 9 overall pick of the 2007 Draft,
Noah spent nine of his 13 seasons with the Bulls (2007-16) and was a three-time All-Defensive selection. His biggest individual moment came in 2013-14, when he was named both Kia Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-NBA first team.
“I’m truly humbled to be honored by both the team and city that I have always loved and respected,” Noah said in a statement released by the team. “Even more so to be able to celebrate tonight with family, friends, former players and coaches, and most of all – the Bulls fans who helped drive my energy throughout my years in a Bulls uniform at the United Center.
“It means so much to me that I’m now a Bull for life. I love you all and am thrilled tonight to solidify my continued connection with the Bulls and the city of Chicago, in this new chapter of my life.”
As an ambassador, Noah will work with the organization to build relationships with people throughout Chicago and the Bulls will make an annual donation to his charity, the Noah’s Arc Foundation. Noah last played in the NBA during the 2019-20 season, appearing in five games for the LA Clippers. Before that, he spent time with the New York Knicks (2016-18) and Memphis Grizzlies (2018-19).
Overall, Noah appeared in 572 regular-season games with Chicago, averaging 9.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. He was an integral part of the Bulls’ playoff teams of the late 2000s and early 2010s, averaging 9.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 2.8 apg and 1.7 bpg in 60 playoff games.
He is No. 1 all-time in Bulls history in offensive rebounds (1,910), third in blocked shots (803), fourth in total rebounds (5,387) and defensive rebounds (3,477) and ninth in games played (572), minutes played (16,848) and steals (481).
“When Joakim played for the Bulls, you could see how much he cared about the kids and everything that’s going on in the city,” Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf said in a statement released by the team. “He still comes into town, and he still cares so much. People in Chicago realize that he was more than just a basketball player, he was someone who cared about the community, someone who was going to do his best to make a difference in this world and he has. Joakim embodies every quality you’d want in a team ambassador. This is a natural next step for a former player with such strong history of giving back to Chicago.”