With LeBron James leaving South Beach for his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, the NBA lost one of its better rivalries of the past few seasons: the “Hollywood as hell” Miami Heat versus the rough-and-tumble Chicago Bulls. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year and general LeBron-agitator Joakim Noah, though, is already sparking flames between The King’s new team and his own. Though happy for James and the people of Cleveland, Noah recently said he hopes the Bulls “kick [LeBron’s] ass as many times as possible.”
Noah: "I'm happy for LeBron. He gets to go home; people are happy over there. I really hope we can kick his ass as many times as possible."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 25, 2014
And as an old rivalry fades, a new one appears.
Noah’s sentiments are surely quite common throughout the league. Despite offering public support of his friend’s decision, for instance, you can bet that Dwyane Wade wants to beat James and the Cavaliers as many times as he can. LeBron’s redemption in the eyes of Cleveland sports fans is a Disney story come true, and the pride and zeal that he exhibits for Northeast Ohio easily resonates with anyone that has a special affinity for their hometown. Even his competitors can’t argue otherwise.
Make no mistake, though – the Cavaliers are the hunted once more, and it’s not just Noah on the prowl; the entire league is blood thirsty for Cleveland. He’s just the only star player comfortable enough to provide such a fun, headline-worthy soundbite.
Never change, Jo.
(GIF via gifrific.com)
Is Bulls-Cavs the NBA’s next great rivalry?
Follow Jack on Twitter at @ArmstrongWinter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.