Joakim Noah makes the rounds at ESPN

Just two days after Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp completed his third “car wash” of interviews and appearances at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, CT, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah went through a similar schedule with multiple appearances, interviews and chats on Thursday.

Noah’s most interesting media appearance of the day came when he was interviewed on ESPN2‘s Dan LeBatard Is Highly Questionable. LeBatard started out by asking Noah about his junior season with the Gators and how much fun he had being a college basketball player in Gainesville, FL.

“My last year at Florida was a blast. I had so much fun. We won a lot of basketball games and then at night we partied. And we did our homework too sometimes,” he said, laughing. “Let me tell you the truth. It’s not really appropriate to talk about it on TV, but one day if you want to we can grab a beer and I’ll tell you all about it.”

He was then asked if he could compare the amount of fun he had at Florida to what quarterback Tim Tebow might have experienced. “Tebow is the guy who got the most love in terms of what he brought to the table, but I promise you that Tebow does not have as much fun as I…I had way more fun than Tim Tebow [at Florida]. We went to school at the same time, too,” Noah said.

LeBatard then pressed Noah about how often he attended class in his junior season as the team was looking for its second national championship. [Listen (start at 8:00)]

“My junior year? Let’s talk about the percentage my freshman year,” Noah said with a smile. “Freshman year I went to all my classes, I had to. Sophomore year when we started winning it started getting a little trickier, but I was still going. And then my junior year, it was a battle. It was a battle. They were waking me up at five o’clock in the morning and making me run. I was just telling the guys that what they were doing was just making me better. […] Why are you doing this to me? I’m trying to tell these kids to go to school, man, and you’re trying to get me to tell a percentage! I’m not giving you the answer to that. I’m not going to lie.”

Noah began his day doing radio interviews with Colin Cowherd and the duo of Ryen Russillo and Linda Cohn (who filled in for Scott Van Pelt) on their shows.

His first conversation was with Cowherd [Listen], who praised Noah for some of his more outlandish comments in the past (like saying he hated the city of Cleveland and that Miami is “Hollywood as hell”). Noah also talked about beads he was wearing that he bought from a Native American reservation in Arizona, his spirituality, and his expectations for the Bulls next season.

He next spoke with Russillo/Cohn and said his top priority heading into the season is making sure that his severely sprained ankle is 100 percent healthy. Noah also said that he still believes Chicago can be a championship contender despite the roster changes made by the front office. “If I didn’t think like that, I think there’d be a problem,” he said.

Noah explained why he chose not to censor himself when he broke into the league and mentioned that he knows there will always be some people that do not like him. “I think that I was a rookie and I wasn’t afraid to speak my mind and we weren’t winning basketball games,” he said. “Yeah, it rubbed some people the wrong way, but I still do rub people the wrong way too sometimes. […] I’m just not afraid to be me.”

He concluded the conversation [Listen] by expressing his disappointment at the fact he will not be able to compete with France in the 2012 London Olympics.

“It’s tough. It’s tough. I think that the Olympics as a player is something you cannot ever take for granted because it comes once every four years,” he said. “We qualified last year and it was the first time in a long time that France had qualified. Not to be a part of it because of my ankle was definitely a tough decision. A lot of people were disappointed, but I know it’s the right decision at the end of the day because I can’t come in next year not being healthy and not being at 100 percent. I knew it was the right decision even though it was pretty tough.”

Noah next participated in an ESPN.com chat session where he answered approximately 20 different questions from fans. [Read – very funny]

David (San Diego): how did you get involved with Vita Coco?

Joakim Noah I got involved with Vita Coco while doing an ESPN The Magazine shoot and we were looking in my fridge. It was filled with Vita Coco. I kind of look like somebody who would be a part of Vita Coco because I look tropical and I look like I drink coconuts fresh off the tree. I look like someone who would climb the tree to drink fresh coconuts. They decided to make me their only basketball player and I’m proud of that.

Rick (Oakland): Jo,You’ve been working with Kareem. Will we see the skyhook this season?

Joakim Noah (1:01 PM): Kareem who is somebody who is mentoring me. I’ve been able to spend a couple of weeks with him. He’s someone who is very interesting and full of knowledge. Working with him is very valuable. The skyhook does not look like his at all.

He also appeared on SportsCenter at around 1:20 p.m. to discuss his style of play, polarizing persona and where he is in his recovery.

Noah concluded his media tour with an interview on ESPN Chicago 1000 AM and two more with ESPN New York [Watch] and ESPN Los Angeles [Watch].

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4 Responses to “Joakim Noah makes the rounds at ESPN”

  1. SC_Gator says:

    Jo is still Jo and I don’t think anything can ever change that.

  2. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Jo is the product of his 70’s hippie upbringing – frank, forthright and free-spirited. What you see is what you get – gotta love it!

  3. Bob says:

    I have never seen someone make a greater leap from one year to the next than Jo made between his Frosh & Sophomore years. In his first year I remember saying “Get that FOOL out of there” when Billy’d play him.

    Then he wins Tourney MOP the next year for the first of two NC’s.

    I love this guy despite some of the “outlandish” (quotes added for sarcasm).