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Why Joakim Noah didn’t freak out over Nene’s karate chop

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Nene’s fourth-quarter chop to Joakim Noah’s upper body Tuesday night — which came near the end of a physical, bruising game — might have caused a skirmish on a different day. Luckily, Noah had a particular reason to stay chill on this night.

“The Nene flagrant on you, in your opinion, do you think that was a basketball play or do you think he should have been ejected when you look at this?” Noah was asked after the game. “I mean, that was a dirty play, was it not?”

Noah smiled, paused and looked away.

“You know, it’s part of the process,” he began. “And I really don’t know what to say right now. But I’m just happy we won, and I’m happy I kept my composure. You know, I was just trying to put out a video just a couple hours before the game about non-violence. And I’m trying to teach these kids big-picture, you know what I mean? So it wouldn’t have been a good look. Not today. Not today, you know what I mean? Not today.”

This might have seemed like just a funny quip, but Noah was completely serious. Earlier this week, he released an eight-minute documentary about the toll of gun violence in Chicago and elsewhere, called “You’re Not Alone.” The film was directed by Alex Kotlowitz, and produced by Noah. Among the topics of the film; the desire for retaliation. The Chicago Tribune has more:

Kotlowitz sounded surprised on Monday when talking about how he found himself interviewing [Taj] Gibson and [Derrick] Rose about a year and a half ago. He and Cobe Williams, one of the subjects featured in [a previous documentary, the “The Interrupters,"] were hanging around with Noah at his house. Noah was a fan of the documentary. And the Bulls star runs a mentoring program and an anti-violence basketball tournament through his foundation, Noah’s Arc.
Noah shared how he met a woman whose brother was killed in a park where he and friends were playing basketball with neighborhood kids. They also talked about how several Bulls players have had gun violence touch their lives, and got the idea to interview them and young people who’ve seen friends or relatives killed by guns.

So Noah kept his calm on Tuesday, and Nene got the flagrant foul. Noah did, though, have quite a few words for Nene after the play. Quite a few.

Ultimately, the Wizards big man fouled out with no points and six rebounds in Washington’s loss; he declined to speak to the media. Noah had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Chicago.

Still, the game likely won’t calm the tension between the two teams. Nene was ejected after a skirmish in game 3 of last year’s playoff series, which prompted a Noah remark about “roid rage.” There was another skirmish this preseason, which led to a one-game suspension for Nene and others. Earlier this week, Nene said “I don’t want to talk about Chicago. You know I hate them. You can put that.”

(Image via @recordsANDradio. Vine via @truth_about_it)