Trae Young's Father: Hawks Star 'Loves' Being Villain After Taunts from Knicks Fans

Adam WellsMay 26, 2021

Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young reacts during the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks, Sunday, May 23, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Trae Young's first playoff game was a memorable experience, as the Atlanta Hawks star silenced 15,000 fans inside Madison Square Garden with his game-winning shot in the final seconds of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs. 

Rayford Young, Trae's father, told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News that his son relishes playing the villain role after Knicks fans were taunting him before tipoff of Sunday's game.

“He loves it," Rayford said. "There’s no sensitive bone in his body when it comes to that."

ESPN's Malika Andrews tweeted prior to the game that Knicks fans entering Madison Square Garden were chanting "f--k Trae Young" in anticipation of New York's first playoff game since May 2013. 

Young got the last laugh when his floater with 0.5 seconds remaining gave the Hawks a 107-105 win. The All-Star point guard referenced the Knicks crowd as he was walking to the locker room. 

Atlanta Hawks @ATLHawks

"Next one."🤫🤫<br><br>-@TheTraeYoung pic.twitter.com/e41Knsyl53

“As I hit the floater, it just felt like everybody got quiet,” Young said in a postgame interview. “I was waiting for them F-you chants again. I was excited.”

Young was the best player on the floor in Game 1. The 22-year-old finished with 32 points on 11-of-23 shooting, 10 assists and seven rebounds in 35 minutes. 

It was the highest-scoring playoff game by an opposing player at Madison Square Garden since LeBron James had 32 for the Miami Heat on May 6, 2012. 

The Hawks and Knicks will play Game 2 of their series on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.