Watch: Joakim Noah crashes Thibodeau presser with jokes


It took roughly seven minutes into Tom Thibodeau's pregame press conference Wednesday evening for the former Chicago Bulls coach to crack a smile.

The reason had nothing to do with reporters' lines of questioning, which varied from the injury status of the Jalen Brunson, to his New York Knicks' first quarter defense, to his personal relationship with Derrick Rose.

No, it took the return of an old friend to crack Thibodeau's steely demeanor. That old friend was Joakim Noah, who strolled into the media room in the middle of Thibodeau speaking.

"Late as usual," a beaming Thibodeau joked, laughing all the way. "My guy."

Noah, who was colorfully clad in a bright yellow hoodie, striped orange shirt and rose-colored shades, promptly took a seat off to the side of the press conference — until, minutes later, an opportunity presented itself.

As Thibodeau closed his final answer of the session, Noah rose and exclaimed: "I have a question!"

"So, are you going to go to Derrick (Rose)'s wedding and you're not going to come to mine?"

After another round of laughs and a moment of pause, Thibodeau shrewdly responded:

"Next question."

Then, the two shared an embrace.

It has been more than seven years since Noah and Thibodeau both represented the Bulls for the final time at the close of the 2014-15 season. Thibodeau was fired that summer, while Noah began a transient late-career phase by leaving Chicago for the Knicks in free agency after the 2016-17 campaign.

But the teams that those two, along with Rose, led are still beloved by the city.

In Thibodeau's five seasons, the Bulls amassed a .647 regular season win percentage and never missed the playoffs, making two trips to the second round and another to the Eastern Conference finals.

Noah, meanwhile, earned two All-Star selections and Defensive Player of the Year honors while winning the collective heart of the fanbase with his passionate play style.

"Obviously, you want to lock into being ready to play and focus on the game. But I spent a lot of time here," Thibodeau said. "(I have) a lot of friends still here. I enjoyed my time in the organization, it's a great city, great fans."

Even as players and personnel from the early-2010's squads have retired or moved on to new ventures, that appreciation goes both ways.

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