Joakim Noah once showed up unannounced at Phil Jackson’s Montana retreat

By Jesse Reed

Joakim Noah and Phil Jackson have a deep connection that spans decades, and now the scrappy center is playing for the Zen master in New York with the Knicks.

Speaking with media on Friday, Noah related an interesting, and oddly fitting, story about how he showed up at Jackson’s Montana retreat unannounced five years ago. Funny enough, he apparently got the address from his dentist, who also did work for Jackson and who had introduced the two once before.

“I took a plane, went to Montana and I knocked on his door,’’ Noah said, via Marc Berman of the New York Post. “We started talking. ‘Why are you here?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ It was a great couple of days – an opportunity to meet one of the legends and spend time with him. Life works in mysterious ways and now we’re here.”

Noah’s father, Yannick Noah, used to make him read all of Jackson’s books when he was a child, so there was a connection built in from the early stages of his life.

That Jackson would usher him in for a couple days isn’t surprising, and one can only imagine the conversations that occurred under that roof.

Now back in New York where it all started for the native of Brooklyn, Noah is fulfilling one of his life’s greatest dreams.

“I’m not taking this opportunity for granted,’’ said Noah, the long-haired 31-year-old former Defensive Player of the Year. “This has been a dream of mine since I was 5 years old.”

Of course, the $72 million over four years doesn’t hurt, either.

Noah will not be asked to do much of anything pretty as a member of the new-look Knicks. With Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in the lineup with him, it will be up to Noah to bang the boards for offensive rebounds and make life miserable for opposing big men on the other side of the court.

Sounds like a winning formula. It’s going to be fascinating to see how the pieces fit together once the season gets into full swing later this fall.