Noah the Freak
by Sean Randall | April 4th, 2006, 11:20 am

Anyone who watched the NCAA final last night in which the Florida Gators pounded the UCLA Bruins has to agree that Joakim Noah is a freak. Why? The kid is, according to announces, seven feet tall and can run and jump like a gazelle.

Now imagine in tennis a guy taller than Dr. Ivo Karlovic who can run and jump as well as say James Blake. Or just imagine James Blake as a seven footer! Ha.ADHEREL

Joakim, who of course is the son of former French Open champ Yannick Noah, again showed last night why he is considered among the NCAA’s best basketball prospects winning the game MVP award. At seven foot, he can run as fast as anyone and can far out leap and out-wing (is that a word?) everyone on the floor. Simple put, seven footers aren’t supposed to do those things, but he does. While he may not have a true jump shot or a back to the basket game, in addition to those athletic skills he does posses some great hoops acumen.

And apparently, Joakim has already said he will stay in school at Florida and not opt to join the NBA where he will collect his millions. Wow…

Okay, enough basketball. Let’s get back to tennis…

This week begins the clay season with the WTA event in Amelia Island. Unfortunately, few, if any, of the top players got that memo. They all passed. The top seed is the riveting Nadia Petrova who’ll have fames piling into the event no doubt.

Bottom line, the WTA and tennis in general need to get their top players playing the big events. Imagine if Joakim Noah – sorry to bring him back up! – missed half the Florida Gator season? Well, he didn’t.

According to the WTA, there are 63 women’s event during a year. Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova have each played 15 of those 63 events in the last 52 weeks. That means they play on average 24% of the scheduled tournaments.

Now imagine if Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky had only played 24% of their games. What about Shaquille O’Neal? Those sports would take a huge hit. And what if Britney Spears or the Rolling Stones only showed up for 24% of their concert dates? They certainly wouldn’t be the stars they are today. Heck, what if you only showed up for work 24% of the time. Well, we know what would happen in that case.

Nadia Petrova is the high for events played among the top 10 at 26 of the 63 events. Unless my math is wrong that works out to 41% of the events. So at best – at best – a top player will play 41% of the events on the WTA Tour. Or said another way, the top player will skip nearly 60% of the tournaments. With that, no wonder tennis is in so much trouble…

So I’d love to know does this happen in individual sports like golf, Nascar, bowling and skiing? Do top players in those sports skip 60% or so of the overall events?

If someone has an answer – and I know Lindsay/Maria were injured and they can’t play every event, blah blah – I would love to know just how tennis compares in terms of overall player participation…

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7 Comments for Noah the Freak

Kevin Says:

Add an R to announces.

The kid is, according to announces

Also next time, put a bit more thought into your post. Your headline cought my attention, because of the word “freak” The story you told sucked. You couldn’t even stick to the subject.
You switched to WTA. I think you missed your chance to really take advantage of a great story.
I wanted to hear more about his father and how he supported him in his decision to go for hoops.
Also you didn’t mention anything about how his Father is now a “rastafarian singer”? (thats what i heard anyway) You could have mentioned how this kid elevated his game after having a really tuff couple games before the final four.

Anyways, just giving you a bit of feedback. Be more positive. Tell heartwarming storys. You could have made this a cinderella story.

Anyways good luck. I tryed not to be harsh.


jlee Says:

Imagine if Michael or Wayne have to fly to Asia to play for two weeks almost non-stop (if you win all the way) and come back to New York to play another two weeks and so on.

Do you know that the WTA tour season is 11months and some of the WTA tournaments have schedule conflicts too.

I don’t know about you, but everytime I went to a different part of continents, I could not function for several days.

Sarah Says:

There is just one mistake with your math…of those 63 tournaments, there are quite a few where more than one is played in the same week, so it would be impossible for Maria/Lindsay to play all 63.

Misha Yevtich Says:

Sean Randall, you have no common sense.
This is what you wrote: Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova have each played 15 of those 63 events in the last 52 weeks. That means they play on average 24% of the scheduled tournaments. Now imagine if Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky had only played 24% of their games. What about Shaquille O’Neal? Those sports would take a huge hit.
This is the stupidest analogy I have ever heard. You should compare the percentages of ALL NBA games played in one season to how many games Jordan played.
I bet you that Lindsay also plays in ALL the tournaments that she is supposed to play, like Jordan did. And how can you use those percentages when no human can play in 63 events out of 52 weeks.
This is just dumb.

Marie Says:

Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks is around seven feet tall, perhaps more, and he handles the ball and can take it up the floor with point-guard-like ease. He may not have the shot-blocking ability of Joakim Noah, but there are other guys that tall that can move just as quickly.

andrew martin Says:

In addition to the comments already posted, I’d like to offer these additional observations. Considering that this one-on-one form of competition has much more in common with a sport like boxing, than a team sport like basketball, your comparison, for me, breaks down at the outset. For instance, in tennis, there is noone at any point in a match to whom a player can pass a ball, or in any other way look to for assistance. It is not possible for a tennis player to sit on the bench while his substitute gives him a breather. There is no coaching staff to relieve the mental fatique which can set in over a long three to five set match. In short just one match can be an enormously taxing undertaking – now consider that a competitor must win as many as seven matches to win a tournament. These are only a few of the many additional considerations which I invite you to consider the next time comparisons of this kind are made.

Brittany Says:

i think u could have put more into the story about how hard Joakim Noah worked to get his team to the championship.

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