Joakim Noah met with the media for just under 10 minutes on Wednesday, discussing his left knee, his on-the-court passion again resurfacing, and his short-handed roster doing whatever it takes to win games until help returns.
Topics that Bulls fans want to hear from the two-time All-Star, but not the real message Noah wanted to get out.
After releasing an anti-violence video called “You’re Not Alone’’ on Tuesday, Noah let it be known that this was just another step in his push to help try and clean up the violence in not only Chicago, but in cities across the United States.
“Yeah, I think the video was very important,’’ Noah said. “It’s important for people from all shapes of life to look at it as it’s not just a problem that’s just going on the South Side or the West Side. It’s everybody’s problem.
“I mean it’s a harsh reality here in Chicago. Violence is out of control. As somebody who plays for the Chicago Bulls, I just feel like it’s important to be aware and to be involved.’’
According to Noah, the next step is the launch of a website called rockyourdrop.com. Along with his mother, Cecilia, and his foundation, the hope is to raise money and help build programs to keep kids off the streets and active.
“It’s called ‘Rock Your Drop: The Drop of Consciousness,’ ’’ Noah said. “It’s a necklace, and you can look at everything on Rockyourdrop.com. It’s a necklace that represents a tear drop. It’s something we’ve been working really hard on. It’s to bring awareness to all the violence that’s going on and also that we’re all in this together, and you’re not alone. It’s our movement and we’re very proud of it, and we just hope that it can spread. The more money we raise with these drops, the programs we can put in for these kids.’’
It’s not like Noah hasn’t done his research for this project, either. As well as frequent talks with Chicago-born teammates Nazr Mohammed and Derrick Rose, Noah has been helped by award-winning journalist Alex Kotlowitz.
“We got to find solutions,’’ Noah said. “One way we can all help is by putting in more programs, getting these kids more jobs, getting these kids more activities, more things to do.
“[I talk to Mohammed and Rose] all the time. Especially for Naz and ‘Pooh,’ they’re from here, so they understand the situations better than everybody. They grew up in it. When I go talk to the kids, and I talk to Pooh and Naz, I don’t really talk too much. I try and listen as much as possible.’’
Noah isn’t just preaching anti-violence, either. He’s living it. After Wizards big man Nene knocked Noah down with a slap that was ruled a Flagrant 1 in Tuesday night’s win, Noah admitted that he didn’t get up and retaliate because of the video being released earlier in the day.
“You know, just trying to put out a video a couple of hours before the game about non-violence, and trying to teach these kids big picture,’’ Noah said afterward. “So it wouldn’t have been a good look, not today. You know what I mean? Not today.’’
He was asked about that again on Wednesday, and if it was hard not to retaliate.
“Nah,’’ Noah said.
He was then asked if he would have been able to keep his cool like that in the past.
“Yup,’’ Noah replied, as a big smirk came across his face.
No one was buying it.