Noah supports fellow Gator Tim Tebow

December, 10, 2011
12/10/11
2:21
PM ET
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Not surprisingly, Chicago Bulls center (and University of Florida alum) Joakim Noah is a massive fan of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, also a former Gator.

"Timothyyyy!" Noah said proudly after Saturday's practice. "We got to show Timothy a little love here. For all the haters out there, you know the guy is kicking ass. Making me very proud to be a Gator boy."

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireAs he prepares to lead the Broncos against the Bears, Tim Tebow has at least one fan in Chicago -- the Bulls' Joakim Noah.
Noah has followed Tebow's career closely since the pair were in school together at Florida.

"It's a beautiful story," Noah said. "He is who he is. There's no lie about who he is. He's comfortable."

Noah admits that the two don't see eye-to-eye on certain issues, but the Bulls center appreciates that Tebow stays true to his values.

"Me personally, I have completely different beliefs than him," Noah said. "But at the same time I respect the fact that he speaks his truth. He speaks his truth and he's a warrior. He's a winner. At the end of the day, his teammates respect that.”

Noah said he didn't know Tebow very well during their time in Gainesville, but that didn't stop him from gaining respect for the quarterback.

"I had a class with him," Noah said. "The guy is the real deal. He's a very humble guy. And somebody who, his teammates love him. They battle for him every night. He might not throw the ball great, and that's all anybody wants to talk about, but at the same time, people really underestimate the fact that his guys really go to bat for him. And it was the same way at Florida. And I can see it, it's the same way with his team in Denver."

When asked whether Tebow had ever tried to cheat off of him on a test, Noah couldn't help but smile.

"Nah, that's not his style," Noah said. "I was the cheater on the test. He wasn't cheating on too many tests."

Noah was asked whether he had heard his friend Charles Barkley's comments that he would be cheering for the Bears when they play Tebow's Broncos on Sunday because he was "Tebowed out."

"I want to make a personal plea to Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Mr. [Julius] Peppers, please stop the madness," Barkley said Friday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I'm just so tired ... I like Tim Tebow. He seems like a good kid, and I wish him success, but I am Tebowed out. So this is my personal plea for you three guys, please stop this madness."

Noah said he had not heard the comments and wasn't fazed by what Barkley had to say.

"That's Chuck's opinion," he said. "I'm not [tired of the Tebow talk]. "I'm a Gator boy. I love the Tebow talk."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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