Noah an NBA All-Star for a second straight season


Jan 30

Bulls center Joakim Noah has been selected by NBA coaches to represent the Eastern Conference in the 63rd NBA All-Star Game.

The announcement was made on TNT during its pregame show Thursday night.

“It’s an unbelievable honor to be selected for the All-Star Game and play against the best players in the world,” said Noah on a conference call with reporters. “It’s very humbling. I’m just happy the hard work is paying off. Even though it’s not my priority, it’s still a good achievement and I’m proud of it.”

For Noah, averaging 11.7 points, 11.4 rebounds (second in the East and seventh in the NBA), 4.2 assists, 1.37 blocks and 1.14 steals in 33.8 minutes per game, it will be his second All-Star appearance in as many seasons.

Bulls center Joakim Noah has been selected by NBA coaches to represent the Eastern Conference in the 63rd NBA All-Star Game.

“Joakim is extremely deserving of being named an NBA All-Star for the second year in a row,” said Bulls general manager Gar Forman. “It’s easy to appreciate how much passion and energy he has for the game every time he steps on the court, but I’m fortunate to also see how hard he works behind closed doors and that is what has helped make him the player and leader he has become.”

It also marks the fifth straight season that the Bulls will have a player in the annual game (Derrick Rose 2010, 2011, 2012; Luol Deng 2012, 2013; Noah 2013, 2014).

“On behalf of the Chicago Bulls family, I want to congratulate Joakim on being selected to play in his second All-Star Game. It is an honor that is incredibly well-deserved,” said team president and COO Michael Reinsdorf. “Joakim makes you proud to be a Bulls fan with the way he excels on and off the court. He inspires all of us with the commitment he shows every day, both in his approach to the game on the court and his work in the community.”

Noah got off to a slow start in 2013-14, missing most of training camp and the preseason. But he’s turned it on since then, most notably in January as Chicago compiled an 11-4 record and moved into fifth place in the East.

“It was a tough beginning to the year,” acknowledged Noah. “I trained really hard in the summer to be prepared for the year. I had an unfortunate little setback with my hamstring and it was disappointing. But we’ve gone through a lot of adversity throughout the year. Losing Derrick and then losing Lu was tough too.

“So we’ve gone through a lot as a team but I think we’re growing as a team and to me, that’s all that matters,” Noah continued. “I wouldn’t be in this position right now if it wasn’t for my teammates. I’m not here scoring points or anything like that. I play off my teammates. My teammates find me for layups and I find them for open shots and layups too. You’ve got to credit them for improving and playing with that fighting spirit.”

In his last 15 games, Noah has recorded 13.2 points, 14.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.87 blocks and 1.07 steals in 36.8 minutes per game. In addition, he has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in 17 straight games—the longest such streak of his career and the fifth-longest such streak in the NBA since 1977.

It’s that stretch that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau recently called the best of Noah’s professional career. In light of the All-Star recognition, Thibodeau praised Noah’s all-around game and the affect he has on his team.

“We’re thrilled that Jo has been selected as an All-Star. It’s very deserving,” said Thibodeau. “He’s put a lot of work into it, and more importantly, I think his game is unique in the sense that all of the qualities that he has and excels at help his team play a lot better. It’s his defense, rebounding and passing, and the coaches have recognized him for this. We’re very pleased that he’s been selected.”

In choosing the reserves, the 30 NBA head coaches voted for seven players within their conference, including two guards, three frontcourt players and two players regardless of position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team.

The 2014 NBA All-Star Game will be played in New Orleans on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 at 7 p.m. CT.

What do you think? Leave a comment below: