In a letter published by the Chicago Tribune on Thursday, former Bulls and current Knicks center Joakim Noah bid farewell to Chicago.
Noah left the Bulls in free agency after nine seasons with the team. The Bulls drafted him ninth overall in the 2007 draft, and in Chicago developed into one of the NBA’s top defensive players and best playmaking big men, winning Defensive Player of the Year and being named to the All-NBA first team in 2014. He made consecutive All-Defensive First teams in 2013 and ‘14. He reunites next season with former Bulls point guard Derrick Rose on the Knicks.
Noah was also active in Chicago communities, starting his Noah’s Arc foundation there to help children and speaking out vocally regarding the city’s problems with gun violence.
He wrote that “the best times in [his] life took place on the United Center floor,” and thanked the Bulls organization, his teammates and fans.
“The relationships I made in Chicago go far beyond basketball, and to me that is just as big as winning the championship. I wish the people in Chicago nothing but the best and I hope we can all continue to be united in bringing some peace to the city. The work to bring people together and build positivity throughout the neighborhood will continue through my foundation and many other great foundations throughout the city that my family and I will stay involved with.
"I will continue to do my best to help this city. Chicago is home for the rest of my life, and my dream is still to help make the city a safer place for kids to grow up in.”
You can read Noah’s full letter here.