Joakim Noah receives standing ovation after first NBA start in two years

Eric HeYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

Joakim Noah is having a resurgence, and it’s one of best things happening in the NBA right now. The 34-year-old, now on the Memphis Grizzlies, is playing like the scrappy, high-energy forward we were accustomed to seeing during his prime years with the Chicago Bulls.

On Friday, he started for the first time since Feb. 4, 2017 — and he did not disappoint, putting up a very Joakim Noah-statline of 7 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and two assists in 21 minutes in a 114-104 win over the Utah Jazz.

He did this celebration after making an open free throw-line jumper:

He posterized Rudy Gobert:

And he received a standing ovation from the crowd after checking out in the fourth quarter:

While he may not be the same player who made two All-Star teams, an All-NBA First Team and won a Defensive Player of the Year award with the Bulls, Noah clearly is still a serviceable veteran who can provide valuable experience and leadership for a rebuilding team such as the Grizzlies.

His fallout with the New York Knicks after failing to live up to a four-year, $72 million contract made many believe his career was done. He served a suspension for violating the NBA’s drug policy, clashed with head coach Jeff Hornacek and was released after playing in just seven games last season.

But look at Friday’s highlights and it’s evident Noah still has something left in the tank. As long as he knocks down open shots, brings the energy and keeps being the hard-nosed player that earned him that large paycheck in 2016, he will have a home in the NBA.

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