CHICAGO – Even though he hasn’t been a member of the Bulls since 2016, Chicago still means a lot to Joakim Noah, and he’s showing it through his most recent charitable effort.
The former Bulls’ forward and NBA Defensive Player of the Year announced on Monday that he’s starting a new tournament in Chicago to aid a number of young adults in the city.
Noah’s new “One City Basketball League,” which he revealed the details of during an appearance on Stadium Monday with reporter Shams Charania, will feature young men ages 16-to-25 from the south and west sides of Chicago taking part in a tournament this May.
Done in conjunction with his Noah’s Arc Foundation, the former All-Star is partnering with 28 violence prevention groups to put it on. Along with basketball, the foundation will help provide financial incentives to players, off-court programs, family services through the Ladies of the Arc Program, along with paid site managers, coaches, and table officials for the games.
“One of the things that was really powerful to me was doing these tournaments where we’re kids from different backgrounds facing each other,” said Noah on Stadium Monday. “Chicago is a place that gave me everything that I had playing for the Chicago Bulls, so I always wanted to do work in the city.
“The city is divided in a lot of ways, and one of the ways to unify the city is through hoop.”
Drafted by the Bulls in 2007 in the first round out of Florida, Noah was one of the most popular members of the early 2010s teams, which were the most successful since the end of the 1990s “dynasty” era.
Noah was a two-time All-Star, NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2013-2014 which was the same year he made the league’s end-of-season first team.
He played for the Bulls through 2016 before signing with the Knicks as a free agent, and was there for two seasons. Noah then played for the Grizzlies and Clippers before retiring in March of 2021, becoming an ambassador for the Bulls shortly after that announcement.
Noah began his foundation in 2010 with his mother, Cecilia Rodhe, with the group’s focus being on at-risk youth in Chicago and elsewhere.