Someone has a sense of humor. My two most hated collegiate athletes over the last few years, Jeff Samardzija and Joakim Noah, end up with the Cubs and Bulls respectively. Well, I'm not amused. I mean just look at this guy. He's Marcus Camby + Homey the Clown + Carrot Top.
I've been struggling to put into words my reaction as a fan to being dealt the one player I've disliked more than any other. Why I remain relatively speechless, Blog-a-bull captured my thoughts best:
Clearly in need of help, I sought out the wisdom of a blogger who has had to deal with Joakim over the past few years, Dan Shanoff:
Pax help us all.
I can't imagine liking this pick as recently as a few weeks ago, but lets focus on the good things that Noah does. He's 7 feet. He can man-defend the center position, good help defender and shotblocker, and on offense he can run, pass, catch and finish.
That's a pretty good player, and that's not going into the intangibles like his 'proven winner' status.
There's also those negative intangibles, such as: he's annoying as hell.
But hey, they're equally unimportant in my eyes.
(1) When Noah was a freshman, not playing at all and mostly sulking, I disliked him entirely.Well, If there's anything I can latch onto for the time being it's that at least he doesn't take himself too seriously. That is refreshing. It'll be hard to get this picture out of my head, but hey, that's what Happy Hour is for.
(2) At the start of his sophomore year (two seasons ago), I sat in MSG with my wife watching the Gators foreshadow their title by beating Wake and Syracuse. I couldn't stand Noah. My wife said he's going to be a star. Shows what I know.
(3) By the 2006 NCAA Tournament, I had come to appreciate his energy and selflessness, his team orientation. He's obnoxious, yes, but his life is an error of enthusiasm, which is entirely forgivable.
(4) End of 2006 Tournament: I believe.
(5) 2007 season and tournament: I find him a little too over-the-top (a game-killing technical waiting to happen), but he always rode the fine line. He maintained that team-first orientation and, despite (a) more scrutiny and loathing than any other player this year and (b) a decreased role within the team as his teammates got a lot better, he was a star on a double-title team.
Here's the upshot: When he's theirs, you hate him. When he's yours, you love him. I'm thoroughly enjoying watching Bulls fans who previously hated him beyond belief rationalizing how to like him.
And people call ME a Bandwagon Gator fan!!!