A player known to occasionally be short with media from his time in two of the country's biggest markets nodded a herd of reporters over to his locker.
Now in Memphis, a "simple place" as Joakim Noah called it, the 33-year-old two-time All-Star almost seemed excited to share the emotions of his return to the court with strangers wielding cameras.
"A blessing," Noah called it after scoring four points in 13 minutes during the Grizzlies' 96-86 win over the Los Angeles Clippers at FedExForum on Wednesday night.
For nearly a calendar year, Noah wondered whether this night would ever come. Once he signed a one-year, $1.73 million deal with the Grizzlies this week, he finally knew he would play again.