After a stellar comeback season with the Memphis Grizzlies, Joakim Noah is getting heavily involved off the court, too.
Joakim Noah has two NCAA National Championship rings, two NBA All-Star appearances, an All-NBA selection, and an NBA Defensive Player of the Year award attached to his name, but his hoops career quickly came to a screeching halt by 2016. Yet, after seizing a last-ditch opportunity from the Memphis Grizzlies this season,
With the Grizzlies thin at the center position, it was a perfect opportunity for Noah to revive his NBA career. That is exactly what he did, too. After signing with Memphis this past December, Joakim appeared in 42 games for the Grizzlies. He produced 7.1 points on 51.6% shooting, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 16.5 minutes per game.
The stats were solid for his reserve role. His height and length was crucial, otherwise, the Memphis Grizzlies would have been handed even more losses than they experienced this season. Plus, his hustle blended with the defensive nature of the Grizzlies organization. His passion was infectious, which enabled him to be a true fan favorite.
Though the 2018-19 NBA season did not bring a playoff appearance to the Memphis Grizzlies, it was a strong comeback season for Joakim Noah. He proved that he still belongs in the NBA. In fact, he may have played well enough on a consistent basis to enable a contending team to give him a nod on a roster spot via NBA Free-Agency, which is set to tip off on June 30th.
Joakim may not play another game in a Grizzlies uniform, but they played an integral part of his NBA journey. They found the key to unlock the cage in which he had been trapped within as a member of the New York Knicks. Not only did he get back to being a force in the paint, but the Grizzlies provided an opportunity for Noah to be a part of something even bigger — this time, off the court and in the community.
Many of the Memphis Grizzlies’ players become fully vested in the community, and Joakim Noah is no different. On Thursday, it was announced via Sports Illustrated that Joakim and other fellow professional athletes are teaming up to end gun violence across the nation.
With this being a hot topic in today’s headlines, it is great to see professional athletes put their platform to use. These athletes are icons — not just nationally, but also globally. It also says something for these individuals, such as Joakim Noah, to take the initiative to create positive change.
Though someone as selfless as Joakim Noah will surely not want credit or praise for stepping up to make a difference, he does deserve a round of applause. Not only did he overcome a negative image — seeming as a team cancer as a member of the Knicks — to being a leader on and off of the court this season.
For this, he will soon earn a pay raise and perhaps another trip to the NBA Playoffs in 2019-20. There needs to be more guys like Joakim Noah in the professional sports and the world in general.