- Nick Friedell, Chicago Bulls beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- The national love affair with Joakim Noah is starting to extend past the Bulls center as he continues to have the best stretch of his career. Now it's Noah's famous father, Yannick, who has caught the eyes (again) of sports fans all over the country.
That's because Yannick, who was interviewed on the ESPN telecast of the Bulls-Heat game Sunday by Lisa Salters, showed the emotion -- in the stands -- that has come to define his son's game. He was shown cheering and yelling with his daughter, Yelena, each time Joakim made a play. His joyous reaction was replayed on television and social media throughout the day.
"I just know that he's happy right now," Joakim said after the game. "I can't wait to see him and celebrate this win with him. I don't get to see him a lot, but my father's always been there for me my whole life. To be able to share these moments with him; I know that he's a nervous wreck during games. I always tell him to drink a brewski and just chill. But I know how he is so I can't wait to celebrate with him."
Noah said after Monday's practice that that's exactly what they did Sunday night.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was happy to see the father and son have some time together on Sunday.
"Of course, he's done great things in his own career," Thibodeau said of Yannick, who is now a famous pop star in France. "But Jo and his dad have a great relationship, and it's great to see."
Thibodeau said he's gotten to meet Yannick, a former French Open champion, and appreciates the bond Noah has with his father.
"What that guy did (as a tennis player), and then he's gone on to another career (as a singer) -- and he's been just as great there," Thibodeau said. "But I've gotten to know him a little bit, I know they're very proud of each other. Whenever you see that type of relationship, it makes you feel good."
What's next: The Bulls take on the San Antonio Spurs, who Thibodeau has called the "gold standard" of the NBA, at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.
The last word: Noah, on all the accolades he has been receiving, including chants of "M-V-P" during Sunday's game: "I don't like it. I don't really like it. It's not what matters."
The only thing that matters to Noah is a championship. He's said it over and over again throughout the years.
"We're hungry, man," Noah said after Sunday's game. "We're a hungry group. That's all I want. I just want everybody in this locker room, when you wear a Bulls jersey, we're going for one thing -- and that's the championship. One day I want to party in Chicago and I want to see what the feels like. One day."
CHICAGO -- The national love affair with Joakim Noah is starting to extend past the Bulls center as he continues to have the best stretch of his career.