Now that Bulls All-Star center Joakim Noah's partnership with Adidas is official-the shoe and apparel company sent out a press release confirming the deal, perhaps the worst-kept secret in the sneaker business after Noah himself indicated it was imminent, Tuesday morning, the first-team NBA All-Defensive Team member can spill the beans about the most important rationale for signing on with the brand.
No, not his famous battle with plantar fasciitis, though Adidas' technology doesn't hurt in that regard. Instead, it was something nearer and dearer to Noah's heart: Chicago and his love for giving back to the community, specifically the city's youth, through his Noah's Arc Foundation.
"That was the biggest part of it," Noah told CSNChicago.com Monday night after the Bulls' preseason win over Memphis at the Scottrade Center, in which he was sidelined due to a groin strain suffered in a training-camp practice. "When I was going through the process, I wanted to go with somebody who would understand what I was trying to do in the community and help with some of the things that I want to do.
"I'm so happy to be with Adidas because I think the potential of doing something important is so much bigger, especially with playing with Derrick," he continued. "It's definitely something that I took into consideration. In terms of making the biggest impact, I think that Adidas is the way to go."
Noah becomes the seventh player on the Bulls-Rose, Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Marquis Teague and rookies Tony Snell and Erik Murphy are also with the brand-to wear Adidas, but obviously Rose's global profile and status as a hometown hero is of major significance in Chicago. Besides just being teammates, the pair are close friends and have similar leanings when it comes to improving conditions for young people in the city, Noah's adopted hometown and where Rose actually grew up. Rose has supported Noah's initiatives, such as September's PEACE Tournament at St. Sabina Church in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood. The former league MVP even came to the first annual event in 2012, while still hobbled from ACL surgery-and Noah's deal with Adidas has sparked conversation between the two of teaming up for larger-scale community projects.
"Yeah, of course," Noah explained. "We'll all sit down together and make a plan. People love Derrick in the community, people love Derrick in Chicago and people listen to him.
"I think that right now we're in a situation where we're focused on basketball, we're focused on our progress," he added, making sure it was understood that the Bulls' ongoing season still takes precedence. "But we’re happy to move in a direction where we're not going to forget about what's going on in the community, as well."
Rose, who is clearly in a positive state of mind as his comeback continues, also addressed the possibilities of joining together with Noah.
"We always talk about that, especially with him joining Adidas, us both wanting to give back to the community," he told CSNChicago.com after Monday's victory over the Grizzlies, in which he scored 13 points and dished out three assists in 23 minutes of action in the 101-87 triumph. "I think Adidas is going to have something in the future.
"I know they're already planning trips for us, especially when I go back to Paris next summer or whenever it is.," he went on to explain. "Really, it's up to Joakim because he's real big in [the community] and for me, I'd like to do something with his foundation."
Teammates on and off the court now, while it can't be ignored that money and shoes have something to do with it, knowing the genuine spirits of both Noah and Rose, in the future, expect the duo to impact Chicago as positively away from the game as they do the Bulls during the NBA season.