ESPN’s Mark Woods published a story about Joakim Noah adjusting to Eurobasket play. It’s worth a look.
What does Noah think about playing for the French national team?
“I’m loving it. It’s exciting to win the games. We’re playing well. This is a great team. We stick together.”
And playing in Lithuania?
“This is unbelievable. It’s a very small country but it is unbelievable the talent they have. The population is 3 million. That’s smaller than Chicago. But you can tell how much passion people have for the game. It’s like a religion out here.
“I feel very privileged to be able to play basketball like this. Never in my wildest dreams did I feel I’d be playing on the biggest stages in the world. The first time I landed in Lithuania, I saw this country with forests everywhere. Here we are in a beautiful arena. You can’t complain too much.”
These quotes epitomize what I love about Noah: His passion for the game and his intense enthusiasm about, well, pretty much everything. That lust for life is why Noah — although he lacks the sheer athleticism and raw skills of some of his NBA counterparts — is one of the better centers in the league.
I’m glad he’s getting the experience. And the extra off-season PT. Let’s hope it helps ramp up his game next season.