There's hate and there's sports hate. Real hate is not OK. Sports hate is OK. We are fans. We are allowed to "love" certain athletes and "hate" others. It doesn't mean we actually love them or hate them. So under that umbrella, I present you with the following statement: I hate Joakim Noah. I hate looking at him. I hate his hair. I hate how he dunks. I hate the way he high-fives. I hate every reaction he has. I hate his game. I hate the way announcers pronounce his name. I hate the story that I've heard a million times about his tennis-playing father.
I want the Celtics to win for a variety of reasons, but one of them is because it means Joakim Noah would lose. I want him to cry when it's over. And we are only two games in. I can't imagine how I'm going to feel about him by Game 5. He's like a cross between Bill Laimbeer, Marcus Camby and Lisa Bonet. Near the end of Game 2, he wandered over to the Boston bench after a whistle and lingered there pretending to be disappointed about a call -- breaking the NBA code of "don't hang out for too long near someone's bench," because, you know, he's a complete jerk that way -- and I was screaming at Kevin Garnett (on my TV), "PUNCH HIM! PUNCH HIM! DON'T LET HIM GET AWAY WITH THIS! YOU'RE NOT PLAYING ANYWAY! PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE!!!!" I hate Joakim Noah. I hate him.
Little does he know, but I already exacted my revenge on him a few months ago, when I took my daughter to a Clippers-Bulls game. She was entranced by Noah's hair for some reason and asked me in all seriousness, "Is that a girl?" I thought it would be funny to convince her that, yes, Joakim Noah was a girl. She didn't fully believe me for about a quarter. By the end of the game, Noah was her favorite player and she was excited that girls could play in the NBA. We came home and she said, "Mommy, we saw a girl play at the Clippers game!" My wife thought it was evil that I did this. She made me feel bad. Now I feel happy. I love that it happened. Just retelling the story makes me happy. I hate Joakim Noah.
(Of course, if he played for the Celtics, I'd love him.)