Yannick Noah

With the Bulls’ Joakim Noah currently burning up the NBA playoffs, we thought we’d take a minute to recognize Noah the Elder—France’s finest tennis player, occasional pop star and longtime supporter of the dreadlock.

Perfectly Embodied:
Sure, he’s had his Kravitzian moments, but we’ll say this: the man knows how to dress for the tropics. These days, he jets between his homeland in Cameroon and his restaurant in St. Bart’s—both of which call for a pretty light wardrobe. The answer? Dress entirely in white linens and go barefoot whenever possible. It’s a pretty good island dress code, if you’ve got an excursion planned and a developing madras allergy.

Words of Wisdom:
Being in the stands is very difficult. I was never [nervous] playing but I am nervous watching, waiting.

The Backstory:
The laid-back demeanor is part of it, even as he watches his son take his place in the spotlight. But “demeanor” isn’t the word: In 1981, he confessed to a little herbal assistance—a customary joint before he took to the tennis court. It does explain the casual air…

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom