With training camp just around the corner, many of the Chicago Bulls players have come back from their summer vacations and have begun working out at the Berto Center in preparation for the 2013-14 NBA season. Typically a world traveler during the summer months, Joakim Noah has returned to Chicago to get ready for the season and says he’s very excited that the season is very near.
“I couldn’t be happier. I’m very excited and it’s going to be an exciting year,” Noah told Bulls.com in a recent interview. “A lot of guys came in early and are putting in work. I’ve been travelling a lot, but mentally and physically, I’m ready to go.”
Most summers, if one we're so inclined, you can literally play a game called ‘Where in the World is Joakim Noah?’ as the big man has been spotted in places like Hawaii, Africa and even Sweden. But this summer, Noah went to a country he’s never been to before to hang out with one of the greatest global ambassadors in the NBA, who was also a pretty good center himself, former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming.
Noah says that he was amazed at the way Yao attracts so much attention in his homeland and says he was inspired by seeing such a spectacle.
“I was able to go China for the first time. It’s a very different culture out there, but I was able to spend some time with Yao Ming to see what he’s doing with his foundation and for the kids over there,” Noah explained. “Yao is somebody who makes an unbelievable impact and he’s a great ambassador for the game. And just being able to see the way he does things out there was very impressive and very inspiring, too. His voice is just so important out there in China and I’ve never seen a basketball player be able to make that much of an impact.”
Noah also built a basketball court in Cameroon – his father’s homeland – and held a camp for the kids there in an effort to create a basketball culture and raise awareness for the game.
As for his health, Noah didn’t give any specifics with regard to the plantar fasciitis issues he’s dealt with throughout his career, but he says he’s fine physically and is ready for the season.
“I feel great. I’ve been working really hard all offseason and I’m just ready to go," he said.