On the court, Joakim Noah is considered by many as basketball’s fiercest competitor. Off of it, though, the Chicago Bulls superstar has developed a reputation for being one of the most philanthropic players in all of professional sports – one he continues to earn on a daily basis.
Noah treated local youths to a shopping spree at Kids Foot Locker in Chicago on Tuesday. More than 40 children from the Noah’s Arc Foundation attended the event, leaving with select new Adidas shoes, shirts, and sweatshirts just in time for start of the new school year.
The only thing these kids were more excited about than receiving fresh new gear? Judging by their smiles, the chance to meet a Windy City hero.
Noah founded the Noah’s Arc Foundation with his mother, Cecilia Rodhe, in 2010. Its mission is to “provide diverse opportunities for kids to become more aware and conscious of their ability to make a positive impact on themselves and their community.” The non-profit organization offers year-round programs in art and sports that strive to help children identify their passions unlock utmost potential in all areas of their lives.
The former Defensive Player of the Year was awarded the February 2015 NBA Cares Community Assist Award. In addition to work with the foundation that hopes to curb gang wars in Chicago, Noah produced a short documentary titled “You’re Not Alone” earlier this year that featured interviews with star teammates and local youngsters who have lost family members to gun violence.
Say what you will about Joakim Noah the player. As a person and philanthropist, though, it’s become increasingly clear he’s one of the most valuable, gracious, and influential the NBA has to offer.