There’s more to basketball than scoring, says former Chicago Bull Joakim Noah in Jr. NBA Clinic

Published June 30, 2024, 9:00 PMNBA.com Philippines Staff

Joakim Noah stressed the importance of work ethic throughout the Jr. NBA Clinic on Sunday, June 30. Photo (c) Jan Ballesteros/One Sports

There’s no easy path to the NBA, even for former Chicago Bull Joakim Noah.

That’s why Noah couldn't stress enough the importance of work ethic when he faced 50 aspiring professional basketball players in the Jr. NBA Clinic at the Gatorade Hoops Centre in Mandaluyong on Sunday, June 30.

Noah himself was known to be one of the hardest workers in the NBA. The 2014 Defensive Player of the Year and former All-NBA First team member attested to that.

According to Noah, there’s more to basketball than scoring and highlight-worthy finishes.

“Not everybody is gonna be Kobe Bryant. Not everybody is gonna be the superstar. What do you do to effect winning the game?” he told the young Filipino cagers in between drills also facilitated by coach Natalia Andre.

“This is a team sport. Sometimes you have to sacrifice. It’s not really about scoring. Sometimes it’s playing good defense. Sometimes it’s about being a good teammate.”

Joakim's insights come from a good place, as his father Yannick, the 1983 French Open winner, instilled his values at such a young age.

Growing up, Yannick helped Joakim understand what it took to be great at something, regardless of sports. Noah used that blueprint to succeed in basketball.

“Being a professional athlete is not just practicing a couple of hours a day. It’s what you eat for breakfast, going to be early, taking away all the socializing and focusing on your dream,” Noah later told reporters.

“You have to be a little bit selfish to do that. It’s not easy… it definitely shaped me because I wanted to be my own man really bad.”

The work didn’t stop for Joakim after he was drafted ninth overall in the NBA in 2007 following a stellar college career.

The New York-born cager teammed up with NBA great and MVP Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, and Jimmy Butler in strong Bulls teams, a run he described as “some of the best times of my life.”

The Bulls were a contender year in and year out. Unfortunately, injuries prevented them from reaching their ultimate goal.

The two-time NCAA champion with the Florida Gators ended up without a ring after 13-year NBA career that also saw him make the All-Star team twice.

He didn’t mind. After all, there are things more important than winning and losing.

“Not everybody here is gonna be in the NBA but the reality is what basketball is gonna teach you is values," Noah said.

"Values you can use throughout your life. That’s more important than winning and losing a basketball game."