Joakim Noah is now the best center in the league. That is something I’ve come to believe. The defense, the rebounding, the passing, all while still giving you around 12 pts a game. In a league bereft of quality centers, give me him over anyone else. I like Noah — I’ve liked him for awhile now — and I’ve grown increasingly confused by people who don’t. I’m not saying I’m in on all this Noah for MVP talk. Put him in the top 5, fine. But that’s a two man race. In any case, Noah’s fantastic, though.
Initially, when he first came into the league, I understood the dislike. Or, at least, I could wrap my head around someone not liking him. He came from success, experienced more of it in college, and wasn’t quiet about his enjoyment of it. He was brash, and some that cry “purist!” don’t like that.
Anymore, though, I’m not sure what else you want. His play is fast becoming more and more difficult to pick apart and his on court reactions, the joy and the anger and the frustration, they feel genuine. He reacts. In an age of crafted personas it’s nice to have a guy who seems to legitimately not care what people think. I’m a fan of anyone who gets in fights with mascots.
And this is the new crown jewel of Noah acting like a person.
In the interest of full disclosure, I live in Chicago. This past weekend it was wonderful. Friday was unreal, the sun shining down on tear stained Cubs hats all throughout the north side, people bailing from work early just to be able to go eat and drink outside. Saturday it hovered around 60 all day. People wore shorts and t-shirts. Parks were full. Babies didn’t have to be bundled anymore. Sunday the rain came but it was still warm. You needed a rain slicker, nothing more. For all intents and purposes, it seemed that Spring was here to stay. The city welcomed it with open arms.
And then Mom Nature decided to be a dick. Yesterday it snowed. IT’S THE MIDDLE OF APRIL AND IT SNOWED. The whole of Chicago put their head in their hands and let out a whimper to the weather gods. A “please, please stop”. Today the high is going to be 36. Spring does not want to come, and everyone is real pissed off about it.
This is why it’s nice to see Noah acting the way that he does above. Because he’s being a real person. He’s giving voice to the Chicagoans who can’t take it anymore. The playoffs are fixing to start. There can’t be snow on the ground.
I think people praise athletes for acting “normal” too much. They’re human beings, they should act like everyone else does. The love we heap upon a player for being an average type of dude is strange — how else should they be? — but I make a concession here. Noah speaks for me. I was ready to put my Carhartt away for the year and today I’m having to pull it back out. That sucks so much.