Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

The Bulls are off to a strong start for 2014 with a 7-2 record and an impressive triple OT win last Wednesday against the Orlando Magic. With the recent trade of former HAM of the Week Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers, health a new leader of the Chicago Bulls has risen: our HAM of the Week, center Joakim Noah.

Even after former HAM of the Week Derrick Rose was out with a season-ending injury, Noah took the reins and has always been consistent with his play. He’s always spoken positively about the team after tough losses, especially as the team is in transition.

Jo-No has consistently been on our radar—we first HAMed the 28-year-old back in 2012 and he has made our Top 10 Chicago’s Sexiest Athletes list this year.

Joakim Noah, http://espn.go.com

In the two years since, the 6’11”, 232 lbs., New Yorker known for his man buns as much as his unique playing style has made impressive strides, making the NBA All-Star team as a reserve last year and the NBA All-Defensive first team. He hit career-highs in all 64 games with 11.1 rebounds per game, 4 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, 2.1 blocks per game and 11.9 points per game.

Not to mention the shake-up surrounding Noah and the infamous Miami Heat fan who flipped him off during the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

With his impressive stats in the last month, it is only a matter of time before we think Noah will be named to the All-Star team for 2014. His numbers are a bit lower (we’re about halfway through the season), but it’s clear he’s the driving force to get the Bulls back in their groove.

The son of a former Miss Sweden and a former professional tennis player and French singer, Noah was born in New York City and lived in Paris for 10 years before returning to NYC at 13. He began his basketball career playing for three schools in New York before taking his skills to the University of Florida. Noah played for the Gators for three years, winning back-to-back NCAA championships in 2006 and 2007.

In addition to playing in his seventh season for the Bulls, Noah also plays for the French national basketball team, though he was injured two years ago during the London 2012 Olympics.

As if we aren’t sold by his soulful brown eyes and demeaning swagger, Noah has a sensitive side. He’s involved with his charity he and his mom founded, the Noah’s Arc Foundation, which helps kids find their inner selves through the combination of art and sports.

 

We’re melting. Noah showed off a funnier side in a recent BMO Harris Bank commercial that debuted at the beginning of the season. Who knew Jo-No would be the best member of our book club?

All joking aside, a guy who speaks French, loves kids, has the drive to succeed and a killer bohemian style is the winning combination of a true HAM.

Look out for Noah and the Bulls as they kick off the week with games against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Charlotte Bobcats.

About the author: Hannah Gettleman is a native of the Northern Chicago suburbs. She received her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012 and attended every home Illini football game. Her love of Chicago sports comes from her dad, who has been in the same Fantasy Football league since she was six years old, and her mom, who plays in a 5-0 football pool. She’s also won the family March Madness pool four times in a row. An avid Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and Cubs fan, she’s excited to share her love of sports and cute guys as the newest HAM Hunter. When she’s not glued to the television on Sundays, Hannah follows the latest in entertainment and red carpet fashion, and makes delicious Betty Crocker brownies. You can follow her at @hgettle12.

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