Joakim Noah, a former star for the Chicago Bulls, has a very interesting career. He was once among the league’s most feared big men, and over his legendary 13-year career, he engaged in his fair share of on-court scraps.
However, it turns out that one of Noah’s most notable incidents didn’t even take place in an NBA arena. During a recent appearance as a guest on JJ Redick’s podcast, The Old Man & The Three, the former defensive player of the year decided to recount an iconic incident involving President Barack Obama, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant.
Noah was also invited to one of Obama’s birthday celebrations at the White House along with LeBron and Kobe. They ended up playing some pick-up basketball with the president, and when Noah was observing one of the games from the sidelines, he quickly understood how petty the Black Mamba was:
Noah began, “So I’m sitting next to Kobe.” “… A steal goes to LeBron. He is taking a break. Consequently, it comes as no surprise when LeBron catches the ball on the break. Everyone is interested in what he will do as they watch.
Kobe turns around and begins chatting to me about something completely; he didn’t even want to recognize the dunk, as I just remembered. Okay, I know I’m sick, but this person is also really ill, I thought. This guy won’t even say hello. That really spoke to me. … He didn’t want LeBron to see him watching him make a slam. He didn’t want to be seen staring in that photo.
What a funny thing. The finest part of the story, which is expertly narrated by Joakim Noah, is that you can clearly visualize Kobe’s expression at that very time. Bryant reportedly didn’t even want to recognize LeBron’s dunk, according to the former Bulls player. Speaking of a competitive spirit, yes?