Joakim Noah’s jubilation of signing with the Knicks has been tempered by his legendary soccer-playing grandfather turning gravely ill.
According to a source, Noah, along with his family, will fly this weekend to France to be with his grandfather, Zacharie Noah, for his final weeks. A Cameroon resident, Zacharie was a star defender for French teams, at times the only black player.
Noah has a strong sports lineage. Zacharie, 80, is the father of former French tennis star Yannick Noah, who was not at his son’s press conference Friday partly due to Zacharie’s illness and commitments to the French Davis Cup team, for which he is coach. The family flew Zacharie Noah from Cameroon to France so he can rest comfortably with family by his side.
“I’m very proud of my African roots,’’ Joakim Noah told The Post on Friday. “And they are my grandfather’s. He’s been living on the same piece of land the whole time. I get to go back once a year, spend some time with him, listen to my history. And somebody who I think has installed that fighter mentality.’’
“Even though it’s a different sport, he’s somebody I talk to a lot about camaraderie and team chemistry. He always tells me I know where I’m from so I know who I am. It keeps me grounded.”
Source: New York Post