They say that some players aren’t built for the Big Apple, and Joakim Noah was one of them. But not in the way you'd think. It wasn’t a case of the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year caving under the pressure of playing in New York City. Noah simply couldn’t deal with the extracurricular activities that came with living there.
During his appearance on The Chris Vernon Show, Noah admits that he wasn’t ready for living in New York City, especially in comparison to his new home of Memphis. “I can look back at it and say I was ready for New York City, but I wasn’t,” he said, per New York Daily News. “Not just the pressure. I remember after the first game I had 60 people in my house. I’m too lit to play in New York City. Memphis is perfect for me.”
Back in 2016, former Knicks president signed Noah to a four-year, $72 million deal with the expectation that he could serve as a veteran defensive presence in the paint. It didn’t take long for the contract to prove to be a monumental mistake as durability issues started to rear its ugly head.
Following the departure of Jackson, the Knicks’ new front office was motivated to clean house, ridding themselves of the old regime’s mistakes, which included Noah. Eventually, both sides were able to part ways and start anew. In his five games since joining the Grizzlies, Joakim is averaging 6.2 points and 3.8 boards per game.