Joakim Noah on how small Dwyane Wade gesture soften Miami Heat hatred

Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls fights for the loose ball against Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls fights for the loose ball against Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat are a team that are known for playing a certain brand of basketball. That’s the brand of basketball that they aren’t necessarily playing at this very moment, finding themselves in moments of lapse far too often or far more than their history of excellence says that they should.

That brand of ball typically consists of hard work, maximum effort, tenacity, physicality, and the willingness to do whatever is necessary on any given play or at any given moment to get the job done. And over the years, that balls-to-the-wall mentality has often resulted in some rather physical brushes with the opposition.

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Whether you think back to the days of Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O’Neal, or even a Brian Grant, there has always been a guy or a few that were ready, willing, and wanted to take it there. And that has often drawn ire or animus from the opposition but deservingly so.

One particular longtime foe of the Miami Heat during the Big 3 Era, specifically, Joakim Noah recently recounted of his longtime and deep-rooted hatred of the Miami Heat. He described the nature of being such a competitor and how that was rooted in him, genetically almost, to the point where he took that competitive nature of wanting to win off the court.

Those feelings, a motivational hatred of sorts, allowed him to compete at the highest level. And you understand what he means because he’s not the first or last athlete to experience and use that as a source.

The Miami Heat and the Bulls had some battles during the ‘Big 3 Era’. Here’s how Joakim Noah got over the hate that allowed him to compete at that level.

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But hey, here’s what the guy had to say about it all for himself on an appearance on JJ Redick’s The Old Man & The Three Podcast. And what he says about that hatred, in the end, is even more interesting.

Amazing! In a moment of extreme fragility and vulnerability, trying to get back to being “himself” again at the thing he’s done at the very highest of levels, Noah describes feeling lost.

And through everything they had been through on the court, the vitriol, the disdain, the hatred, and animosity—Dwyane Wade’s simple words of encouragement were, not only, huge for Noah and his process of getting back to where he wanted to be but also for his growth as a person and true competitor at his craft.

Now, this isn’t to say that those who take the all-encompassing animosity approach to competition are bad or wrong, this was just an interesting conclusion, of sorts, to a story of a guy with so much dislike for a particular organization and for very good reasons.

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Hey, and that’s also a huge part of what makes Flash the Miami Heat’s greatest ever, well, that and all the winning he did on the basketball court.