Those who followed the Hawks closely over the last few seasons were already well aware Trae Young was a showman. He doesn’t just want to win; he wants jaws to touch the floor in the process. When more people are watching, that’s when he does his best work, and nothing exemplified this more than his performance against the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs last year.
Young won Game 1 for the Hawks with his patented floater, leading to the now-famous line, “It’s quiet as fuck in here,” as he looked towards the Knicks crowd. Atlanta would go on to win the series 4-1, with the last contest coming in MSG. The Hawks ran away with the game, and at the end, Trae Young took a bow like he was on broadway.
Knicks fans weren’t too fond of his showmanship.
“Fuck Trae Young” has probably been chanted more times than “Let’s Go Knicks” by New Yorkers. Even when the Hawks aren’t in town — hell, even when basketball isn’t even played — the chant somehow makes its way into crowds around the city.
Young has embraced the trash talk like few others before him, allowing it to fuel him rather than frustrate him. So, it’s no surprise he delivered a performance for the ages in his first appearance back at MSG since he sent the Knicks packing almost a year ago.
Young had his A-game from the opening tip, heading into the locker room at halftime with 24 points and five assists. The Hawks also held a six-point lead, but that didn’t last long. Once Young exited the court for his scheduled rest to start the fourth quarter, the Knicks opened up a double-digit lead. By the time Young returned, the lead was seven. Then, the magic happened.
Young hit a huge three to tie the game with just under three minutes left, giving him over 40 points on the night. The Hawks then hit two more threes in a row to stretch their lead to six. The game was all but over, but Young had one more opportunity to put on a show, and he didn’t disappoint.
KING OF NEW YORK pic.twitter.com/8qqlnewC0a
— SportsTalkATL.com (@SportsTalkATL) March 23, 2022
Just like that, Young essentially ended the Knicks season again, but he couldn’t let the fans get off that easy. In an interview after the game, he said the crowd wasn’t even that loud and that he could barely hear them.
Trolling at its best and it will only add more fuel to this already heated rivalry between Trae Young and the people of New York. We may still be early in his career, but Young is following in the footsteps of another Atlanta legend, Chipper Jones, who haunted the Mets for nearly two decades. New York fans are great. When you have their attention like this, it is nothing but a sign of respect. Young has earned that, and it’s what makes the Hawks and Knicks a must-watch game every time they step on the court.
What could make this rivalry even better? Well, perhaps if Young named his first-born Madison. I think that might put his stamp on the city forever, just like Jones.
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