Beyond the fact they were Eastern Conference All-Star teammates for the first time, the Bulls' Joakim Noah perhaps forever ended his alleged feud with the Celtics' Kevin Garnett this weekend. "KG was my favorite player growing up," Noah said matter-of-factly. Oh, sure, the two will still tussle and tangle and get technical (fouls). Noah might even again accuse Garnett of cheap shots or call him "a dirty player," as he has before. But when you strip away all the noise, the players are far more similar than dissimilar. "A lot of people talk about all the extra things he does, but I know all he cares about is winning," Noah said. "I respect that, even though he's done some (expletive) sometimes. At the same time, what I like is that he's not trying to be friends with anyone who's not his teammates. As I get older, I respect it more." Garnett said he didn't know Noah had a poster of him on his bedroom wall — as a member of the Timberwolves, not the Celtics — and that he hadn't seen Noah play enough to assess whether their games have similarities. But Garnett said he respects "every player in the league" and eloquently explained why teammates love him but opponents don't. "When I step on the floor, it's me against him. Nothing personal; we're just competing," Garnett said of his overall approach. "I never socialized with a lot of these guys because, one, I don't see them and, two, it's never arranged. "But I'm not so high on myself that I can't speak or congratulate another guy. I have personal friends in this league. But when I compete, it's competing. I'm not out there trying to get you to like me." Coach's corner: Noah fielded a question on Vinny Del Negro's growth as a coach. "Experience definitely helps, whether it's good or bad," he said. "Playing in that Boston series (when Del Negro was coaching Noah and the Bulls) and even that Cleveland series were fun years for me. Those teams were really exciting. I see he's doing really well. I'm happy for him. The Clippers are a great team. I wish him nothing but the best."
Bulls' Noah has a lot of respect for Celtics' Garnett
Chicago Tribune | Feb 18