Joakim Noah, the Chicago Bulls’ All-Star centre and certified eccentric, has just finished a grueling team workout. Drenched in sweat, knees swaddled in ice packs, the 29-year-old vet – he of the Sideshow Bob hairdo, wild on-court gesticulations, and alternative medical treatment methods (rooster plus battery-aided electric shock therapy) – looks like nothing more than what he is: an elite professional athlete putting in the work for the upcoming season.
You’d never know he’s coming off one of the most striking campaigns in recent NBA history. In November 2013, Derrick Rose, the team’s point guard and 2011’s NBA Most Valuable Player, tore up a knee, losing his second straight season to injury. Just like that, Chicago’s would-be title run turned into a throwaway, with the remaining Bulls simply trying to keep things respectable as they awaited Rose’s return. Instead, Noah stepped up, becoming a 211cm ball handler with a twisting, broken-down embarrassment of a jumper – Noah once joked it was so bad that it demoralized other teams when it went in. It was something the league hadn’t seen since the glory days of Bill Walton and his Carrot Top ’fro and Grateful Dead fixation.
For the full interview grab the March 2015 issue of MAXIM, in stores from February 19 to March 19.
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