‘Didn’t Create the Hate’: Hawks Teammate Explains Why Trae Young Shouldn’t Be Blamed for Beef With Knicks Fans

Published 07/22/2021, 6:30 AM EDT
Jun 8, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) argues a call with referee Ken Mauer (41) during the first quarter in game two of the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports


If anyone had to pick the most entertaining playoffs matchup of this season, it’s the New York Knicks vs Atlanta Hawks. And it isn’t because the two teams made it a great battle. But because the Knicks fans and Hawks’ Trae Young were having a cold war of their own. Trae missed no opportunity to mock Knicks fans, and while most considered it disrespectful, his teammate Kevin Huerter understands why Trae did what he did.

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Kevin Huerter would do the same if he was in his teammate’s shoes

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Both the Knicks and Atlanta Hawks had an unexpectedly good run in the regular season. But once they were pitted against each other, Knicks fans tried to chew on the Hawks’ especially their star player, Trae Young. He was the best player in their series and averaged 30 points per game despite all the bashing on-court he received from Knicks fans.

But Young wasn’t one to keep shut. From his famous bow after a three-pointer to his shimmy and even some harsh words, Trae punched back in his own way. While some think his response was uncalled for, his teammate feels otherwise.

In an interview, Kevin Huerter came to Trae’s defense and said, “We’re at the highest level of our game. If you get into MSG, playing the Knicks in the playoffs, in the third possession of the game, the whole crowd is chanting ‘F you Trae. I am not Trae, but if I had all those people chanting F you, the first chance I get, I am doing something back to the crowd. Kind of like an F you back.”

WATCH THIS STORY: Trae Young’s Bow, Larry Bird’s Steal & Other Iconic NBA Playoff Moments

The Knicks fans poked Trae Young

Not only does Kevin believe in tit-for-tat, he thinks the Knicks fans were the ones who made the situation ugly. He explained, “I just feel like he didn’t create the hate in that series. Right way, New York was on him. New York singled him out. Like ‘we’re going to try and get in this guy’s head and we’re going to try and flip him. Trae in that entire series talked the talk and walked the walk.”

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Feb 15, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young (11) shoots against New York Knicks’ Elfrid Payton (6) and Nerlens Noel (3) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jason DeCrow/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Huerter couldn’t emphasize enough that there was never any beef between the two teams. So, it could have been clean if the Knicks fans wanted but they brought upon Trae’s wrath on themselves. What are your thoughts on this controversial matter?

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Yashima Bhatia

1338 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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