CHICAGO – The way he played, the passion that he displayed, and the success he had made the forward one of the most popular players in franchise history, especially in the post-dynasty era.
That’s what a night to honor Joakim Noah at the United Center on Thursday night has been a most anticipated event for the fanbase over the past few weeks.
Now his big night comes with a new role with the team.
Noah was named a Bulls’ ambassador for the franchise ahead of the team’s evening to honor him as the current group faces the New York Knicks. In this role, he’ll aid the team in building relationships in Chicago and around the country.
As part of his joining the team as an ambassador, the Bulls will make a donation to Joakim’s “Noah’s Arc” foundation.
“I’m truly humbled to be honored by both the team and city that I have always loved and respected,” said Noah in a release from the team. “Even more so to be able to celebrate tonight with family, friends, former players and coaches, and most of all – the Bulls fans who helped drive my energy throughout my years in a Bulls uniform at the United Center. It means so much to me that I’m now a Bull for life. I love you all and am thrilled tonight to solidify my continued connection with the Bulls and the city of Chicago, in this new chapter of my life.”
This is one aspect of an evening where a number of former players will return to the United Center to salute Noah, who was a first round pick of the team in 2007 and spend nine of his 13 seasons with the franchise.
It’s also expected, but not confirmed, that Noah is expected to sign a one-day contract with the Bulls to officially retire with the team.
A two-time national champion with the Gators under current Bulls’ coach Billy Donovan, Noah was a two-time All-Star with the Bulls and won the 2014 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. That year he was also named to the league’s first team and was one of two selections to the All-NBA defensive first team.
Noah helped the Bulls to seven playoff appearances during his time in Chicago, including the best record in the Eastern Conference during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons. In May of 2011, he aided the Bulls’ only trip to the conference finals in the post-dynasty era as they defeated the Pacers & Hawks before losing in five games to the Heat.
Josh Frydman profiled Noah before his big night on Thursday along with his continued charity work in Chicago this week, and you can watch that story by clicking here.