Joakim Noah has never been one to shy away from being himself.
Whether it's dancing around for cameras after winning the NCAA basketball title at Florida, or dancing around his basement singing holiday songs on YouTube, Noah doesn't care what anyone thinks. Just like his idol, former Bull Dennis Rodman.
What Noah does care about is basketball and the Chicago Bulls.
"I think Chicago has the BEST fans and I love how passionate they are," Noah said sitting in his north suburban home. "It makes you really feel like you're working hard for a reason and you're working hard to represent not just the fan base but the city."
He certainly is doing a good job representing his team.
Noah is a top eight rebounder in the NBA, an 82 percent free throw shooter and averages 40 minutes of play time a game. He's worked hard to get there, putting a gym in his basement to get bigger and stronger.
But his will to compete comes from somewhere else, his father; former professional tennis player, Yannick Noah.
"He was always tough on me," Noah said reminiscing about the games of one on one basketball he played with his father growing up. "He would never take it easy on me, he would push me around."
Noah didn't always like his father, though. Not when tennis fans would interrupt their dinner to get an autograph or say hello.
"I didn't really care about him being a tennis player; I just wanted to be able to spend time with him," he said.
Noah's parents divorced, so as a child he cheered for his father to lose matches so Dad would come home. It was his father who taught him how to be a competitor.
"I love my father ... even though he taught me tough love, he taught me how to compete," he said.
While Noah sees where his drive comes from, sitting beneath a giant portrait of a Native American Indian above the mantel in his home, he knows what he inherited from his mother Cecilia Rodhe.
"My mom's a very sensitive person, she's an artist so artists are pretty weird, my mom's kind of weird," Noah laughed. "But I'm weird too."
Rhode is also very outspoken and not afraid to confront fans who jeer her son. She was there when Philadelphia 76ers fans cheered Joakim's injury last year in the playoffs. Not surprisingly, her son's reaction was honest and sincere.
"Philly fans are haters, it's a known fact!" Noah said.
Noah will tell you he thinks the Miami Heat are "Hollywood" and "Cleveland sucks." He can't help it, saying what's on his mind is how his parents raised him.
"It doesn't always work well when you're 13, 14-years-old," Noah laughed remembering how his opinions got him into trouble as a kid.
Yet life is good for the Bulls 6'11 big man. He's holding down the fort until Derrick Rose returns.
"We just want to be as ready as possible for when that time comes because it's going to be exciting," he said.
Until then, Christmas finds Noah reflecting on his health and happiness.
"I'm pretty big on quality of life," Noah revealed.
When asked what he would do without the NBA, Noah didn't hesitate.
"Probably be a fruit vendor on the beach" he said with a smile. When teased that his choice would lead him to "check out of life," he was quick to interrupt -- "who says that's checking out of life?"
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Joakim Noah life!