So once the club acquired Derrick Rose, Noah said he jumped at the opportunity to sign with the team.
“I get to play with my brother [again],” Noah said on Friday. “That’s very special.”
Noah talked about Rose, the 1990s Knicks and several other subjects during his introductory media conference on Friday. Below is an edited version of the questions and answers:
Q: Is this a welcome home for you?
A: “Yeah. I look at this as a very special opportunity. I’m not taking this opportunity for granted. This has been a dream of mine since I’m 5 years old. I was a fan of a lot of people who wore this jersey: Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, Chris Childs, Latrell Sprewell, Marcus Camby, Larry Johnson. I was in the Garden for all these guys. I was in the Garden when LJ hit the shot. I was in the Garden when Michael Jordan came back and gave us 55. This means everything to me. I’m going to do everything to make this special.”
Q: Can you be like a Charles Oakley for this team?
A: “I just want to be myself. I’m not trying to follow anybody’s footsteps, but these are the people that shaped me, these are the people I looked up to. I had their jerseys. I had those guys' pictures on my wall. To me, even though none of those guys won a championship, I know what they mean to the city because I’m from here. I know the love Latrell Sprewell gets when he walks around this city because he represents what this city is all about.”
Q: What's your history with Phil Jackson?
A: “It’s a pretty crazy story. My father used to make me read his books when I was a kid. I hate reading books but I read his books. My best friend, who is my agent now, has a relationship with Phil’s best friend. … This was before he took the job with the Knicks [about four years ago], so he was completely off basketball and I had an opportunity to go to Montana and meet him. So I took the plane, went to Montana, I knock on his door and we start talking. He goes, ‘Why are you here?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’ It was a great couple of days. I got an opportunity to meet one of the legends and spend time with him. It was great. Life works in mysterious ways. Now we’re here.”
Q: Would you have been here if Derrick Rose hadn’t been acquired via trade?
A: “No, I probably wouldn’t have. You don’t really hear too many situations where a center gets traded for a point guard, especially a point guard like Derrick Rose, who was a hometown favorite. I would have never thought that he would have left Chicago. It’s pretty amazing that he was the hometown guy showing me around and now he’s on my turf. I get to play with my brother. That’s very special.”
Q: How good can this team be?
A: “To be honest with you I have no idea. I love the makeup, the characters that Phil put together. Now it’s on us to jell. That’s a real thing. Chemistry is everything. Everybody has to put their egos and what they think it should look like to the side and make the right sacrifices to be the best team possible. That doesn’t always happen. Time will tell. There’s no other place I’d rather find out.”
Q: Is it fair to question your health? (Noah was limited to 29 games last season due to left shoulder injuries and surgery.)
A: “I understand completely. I’ve been injured the last couple of years, and it sucks. As an athlete, trust me there’s nothing more I want than to be on the court. It doesn’t matter what anybody writes or anybody says, at the end of the day nobody cares about this [stuff] more than me. I’m the one putting in the work every day. I’m very passionate about this. I always have been and I always will. This is where I want to end my career until the wheels fall off. I’m scarred up from the game -- knees, ankles, shoulders -- but this is my path and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Q: You seem hungry. Do you get that sense with other players on this team?
A: “Yeah. Redemption is a powerful emotion. It’s a powerful thing. We can talk about these things all day. There’s no lie. Everybody knows there’s something special in that building, in that Garden. I’m just really proud to be able to … that jersey means everything to me and to be able to play in that building in front of my people means everything to me.”