Most Outstanding Player of the 2006 championship run. The face of the Gators back-to-back national championship squads. A natural source of energy for one of the most impactful college basketball teams in NCAA history.
All valid descriptions of former Florida Gators center Joakim Noah.
Following a successful NBA stint that saw Noah suit up for the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies and LA Clippers, the Gators legend is reportedly calling it a career after 13 years per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.
According to Charania's report, Noah is heading into retirement after being cut in December by the Clippers and his wish is to sign off in the Windy City, where his professional career began.
In honor of a successful basketball career that included defensive dominance, high intensity and a number of funny moments, let's take a look back at Noah's playing career.
Arriving on the scene in Gainesville in 2004, Noah saw an insignificant amount of minutes in year one under Billy Donovan. Seeing just under 10 minutes per game in year one, Noah's standing a rotational piece deep on the depth chart was short-lived heading into year two.
Equipped with fellow future NBA players in Al Horford, Corey Brewer and Taurean Green alongside him, Noah produced his best year in blue and orange as a sophomore. Shooting a near 63 percent from the floor, Noah averaged 14.2 points per game and was a menace on the defensive end, accounting for just over two blocks and one steal per contest.
Starting to captivate audiences with his outgoing personality on the court, Noah was a star in the making for the Florida Gators squad in 2006.
Proving to be the power source to one of the all-time great Gators teams, Noah dominated the hardwood when it mattered most for Florida, totaling 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting and nine rebounds in the 16-point victory against the UCLA Bruins for the first national title in Florida history.
Announcing his intentions to come back to Florida in the offseason following this victory, Noah would return with a target on his back given the success he had seen the year prior. Despite his number gradually fading, Noah still recorded 12 points game, shot 60.7 percent from the field and grabbed 8.4 boards.
Despite a large role in the Gators' return to the title game, Noah took a back seat to Horford in the final game of his Florida career due to foul trouble, only totaling eight points and three rebounds in an 84 to 75 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Florida's repeat title stands as the last team to win March Madness in back-to-back years and is one-half of the only school to claim a national championship in both football and basketball in the same year, beating Ohio State in both events.
Overall, Noah played in 108 games at the University of Florida, totaling 10.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in his career.
Moving onto the professional level after winning his second national title, Noah would be drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 9th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.
Accounting for 8.8 points and 9 rebounds per game throughout his professional career, Noah’s play on the offensive end was criticized at times due to a lackluster shooting form. However, Noah got the job done with efficiency, shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and right at 70 percent from the charity stripe in 672 games.
Seeing his best years come under Tom Thibodeau in Chicago, Noah aided the Bulls to multiple playoff runs in the early 2010s alongside Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler.
Once again, Noah's impact stretched further than his play on the court. As one of the biggest trash talkers in the NBA, Noah seemed to find a role as the villain for opposing franchises and excelled in it.
If nothing else, Noah sparked energy into the Bulls roster.
Named a two-time All-Star, three-time NBA All-Defense and All NBA in the 2013-14 season, Noah displayed a consistency on the defensive end that made him a vital asset during the peak of his performance.
Underperforming after signing a four-year, $72.5 million contract with his hometown New York Knicks, Noah's career began to tailspin, seeing three teams in four years and minimal playing time in each of those spots. Signing with the Clippers last season, LA decided to let him go in December of 2020 after playing in just five games, the first sign that his career was likely coming to a close.
Despite never reaching the pinnacle of a Finals berth in the NBA, Noah claimed a number of accolades at the collegiate level and sits as a basketball icon for those in and around Gainesville during the years he roamed the halls.