Joakim Noah seeking first NBA title; looks forward to mentoring Ivica Zubac

Joakim Noah
Photo: Brandon Dill/Associated Press

Joakim Noah can’t wait to get back on the court for the Los Angeles Clippers and play for the first time since the 2018-2019 season.

Noah is on one of the longest 10-day contracts in NBA history, as he was signed on March 9, two days before the league suspended its season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 35-year-old was signed as a limited-minutes defensive stopper, rim-rolling energetic force and savvy passer.

Noah can also serve as a mentor to young Clippers center Ivica Zubac.

In an interview with Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Noah addressed these topics.

On concluding his career with a title contender:

“It was about being able to finish my career on a team that has a common goal.”

On waiting for his opportunity with Los Angeles through the coronavirus delay:

“I think it’s just it’s all about perspective and how you look at it… Even though it was a setback, I think it also makes me appreciate the opportunity that much more, you know?”

On his role with the Clippers:

“The way I look at it is I know that I’m in an environment right now with a winning culture and a team that’s really trying to win a championship and there’s not much more I could ask for… Regardless of what my role is, I’m grateful. I know I’m as ready as I can be. So it’s not about comparing myself to past years or even last year, it’s just being the best that I can be physically and using my experience to be there for the guys.”

On being able to mentor Zubac:

“I just want to talk to (Zubac) about some of the things that I’ve been through… I’ve been in situations where we had championship aspirations and then injuries kind of derailed that. So it’s just not taking your opportunities for granted. And just because you’re a young player doesn’t mean that these situations happen all the time. So it’s just like really living in the moment.”

“I don’t think he’ll [Adam Silver] put the players’ health in jeopardy,” Noah also said. “He’s somebody who has shown time and time again that he’s the best commissioner in sports.”