When Joakim Noah signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the Knicks in 2016, his father – former tennis star Yannick Noah – boasted about how well his son would fit in New York:
“He knows the city,” Yannick Noah said. “He was born here. It’s not like he’s coming from the countryside and he’s coming to New York City. He lived here for a long time. Of course, it can be dangerous for an athlete. But he knows and he’s so motivated. It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s going to give all he has for the city.”
Noah played terribly, got suspended for taking a banned substance and feuded with his coach. Before this season, the Knicks cut him, preferring to pay him out than have him continue to occupy a roster spot.
Noah, who previously played for the Bulls, signed with the Grizzlies. He’s now addressing what went wrong in New York.
Noah on the Chris Vernon Show:
I could look back on it and say I thought I was ready for New York City, but I wasn’t. And it’s something that I’ve got to live with.
Not just the pressure. I remember after the first game, I probably had, like, 60 people in my house. I’m too lit. I’m too lit to play in New York City. I’m too lit to play in New York City. Memphis is perfect for me.
We were lit in Chicago, but I was young. So, you recover faster, you know? You recover faster.
I respect the honesty. Not many players would have revealed so much about their partying.
But I’m also not convinced a smaller market will fix Noah.
The 33-year-old might just be too worn down to help an NBA team.