Before yesterday's media day event, WaPo NBA veteran Michael Lee made the astute observation that Joakim Noah was the most likely prospect to say something bizarre, which is why I decided I wouldn't miss a Jo word. But aside from his plaid shorts, it was sort of dull. He did field a whole bunch of questions in French, and his Franco-answers invariably drew hilarious laughter from the French media, but I don't speak that language, and the only words he said in French that I understood were "Le Coq Sportif," which also drew laughter. Anyhow, since I was there, here were the other things he said:
He knows what it's like to be among the commoners
"I feel like junior year I was really under a microscope in everything that I did," he said. "Even living on campus was crazy, with all the students. It wasn't like an NBA environment where, you know, you're secluded and you have security. We were living with all the students and everything."
He's onto the wily media ways of ESPN Radio, and maybe should form a strategic alliance with The Big Lead
"Sometimes when you're young, you feel like you play for that praise and what they say in the newspaper, and 'I hope they say something good about [me],' which is a normal reaction," he said. "But at the same time, I mean, even yesterday I'm listening to ESPN Radio and they just killed Lamar Odom. It was the craziest thing I ever heard in my life. And I was like, 'Wow, this guy probably can't even shoot a free throw, and he's like killing Lamar Odom,' talking real bad about him. That was just unbelievable. So I feel like as a player, you have to be strong and block all that out.
"It's unbelievable, because I feel like the media's just there to write stories, really. That's your guys' job, it makes sense. But as a player you just have to realize what's important to you, and what's important is not what people write about you, it's about playing for your family and playing for the right people."
His partying image is undeserved
"That's so hypocritical to say," he said. "Why, because after the championship I said 'We're gonna do it big?' Like, wouldn't you do it big if you won a championship? I mean, you probably would have been in the club with me doing it big, you know what I mean? When you win a championship, everybody's happy and that's what you do, you go out and have fun."
He will give neither 110 percent nor 200 percent
Twice he said that the NBA requires an effort of 150 percent. Myself, I plan to give only about 64 percent tonight.
God is into mock drafts
As with every player, Noah was asked if he had any indication where he would be drafted, or any preference. As with every player, he declined comment.
"I mean, I don't know if it would be the right thing [to express a preference]," he said. "I'm a big believer in karma, and there's definitely teams that I like better than others, but I feel like right now I don't really want to say what teams I like. God willing, I go to one of those teams. So I put it in God's hands."
Why didn't he work out for Milwaukee?
"Um, I don't know," he said.
Expect flopping. Lots of flopping.
"I'm a big Vlade fan," he said. "I love Vlade Divac. I just liked his style. You could tell he was a great competitor and somebody who, just in the way he was, was a leader. I mean, that's how I felt about him. And actually, I remember watching Yugoslavia play the USA team in the '96 Olympics, and I had a Penny Hardaway jersey on. And Vlade was playing so well, I just became a fan right away, I took off my USA jersey and I was for Yugoslavia."
His nickname at Rucker Park was "The Noble One"
"My father was a tennis player, my grandfather was a soccer player, he'll be there tomorrow," he said. "We hold it down. I'm noble, baby, I'm noble."
He'll spend tonight in Hell's Kitchen
"As soon as the draft is over, I'll be on 51st street, you know what I'm saying, I'll be right on my block," he said. "All my people will be waiting for me over there. I mean, it's crazy. I live 20 blocks away, I can walk from my house to the draft."
If he had the first pick in the draft, he'd take Joakim Noah
"Because I'm me," he said. "Pick me."