Noah’s Spark: How Joakim Noah went from being the teenage hot dog vendor at ABCD All America camp to being an NBA All-Star and the emotional leader of the Chicago Bulls
During summers, Green worked at Sonny Vaccaro’s famed ABCD camp in New Jersey. The event served as a showcase for the country’s top high school talent, and Noah, in his early teens, begged Green and Vaccaro for admission. But Green didn’t think Noah was ready. He worried that Noah might be embarrassed by the elite level of competition at the camp.
“I wasn’t pampered by the process,” Noah said. “A lot of these guys from a young age, especially when you’re a top player in your age group, you get a lot of people telling you how great you are. Everyone wants to be your friend. I never had that. I had to deal with that a little bit because of who my father was, but as a basketball player I didn’t have to deal with that.”
Instead of competing at ABCD, Noah mopped and dried the courts and worked the hot dog stand while LeBron James, Sebastian Telfair, and other prep standouts hustled up and down the floor.
“He was the cutest, most lovable, horrible basketball player I ever saw at that age,” Vaccaro said of Noah. “But he had this determination. He cleaned the floor. We called him the tennis guy.”