After the passing of his grandmother last week, Joakim Noah returned to the court to help the Chicago Bulls defeat the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.
Joakim Noah played well Tuesday in the Bulls win over the Memphis Grizzlies, but he didn’t seem to have his legs under him and his trademark fire and passion was missing. You can’t blame him for either, though, as he’s still mourning the loss of his grandmother who passed away in France last week.
Noah had been noticeably absent from the team’s practice sessions with what was described then as a “personal matter.” Via his Twitter account, Joakim let everyone know what he was going through and thanked fans for their well-wishes.
After the Bulls locker room had all but cleared after the game, a melancholy Noah was the last player left. As he sat at his locker to discuss the victory, he was more reflective on the loss of his grandmother and what she meant to him as a basketball player.
“It was very hard losing my grandmother," Noah said. "She’s the one who introduced me to the sport of basketball. She was the first basketball player in my family. She played on the Cameroon National Team. She was the secretary; she did everything for the team. Me playing on the national team for France, it was all for her.”
Joakim played just a shade over 18 minutes against the Grizzlies, scoring 10 points and grabbing seven rebounds. He seemed to use the game as a way to help clear his mind, but he acknowledges it wasn’t that easy for him.
“It was very, very hard. But I’m happy to be back playing basketball.”