Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young became the latest player to have an adversarial relationship with New York Knicks fans when Atlanta defeated the Knicks during the 2020-21 NBA Playoffs.
Young’s stardom elevated during the series as he led Atlanta to a five-game victory over New York, and Knicks fans let him have it at Madison Square Garden.
The series led to the perception that Young plays the role of the villain in the NBA, a topic Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green dove into with Young on the latest episode of “The Draymond Green Show.”
“New York Knicks fans are f—— delusional and miserable,” Green told Young. “And I love New York, so don’t ban me from y’all city. But they’re hard. They’re a hard fan base.
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“You go into The Garden, you hitting the shots, you bowing. Every timely shot you need to make, you make. You’re making every play. And what I actually think now, and continuing to watch and continuing to pay attention to it, is you are very much so a showman. But yet that’s been flipped. And again, talking agendas, into being this villain. And I’ll be the first to say it, being the villain sucks. It’s no fun.
“But when it’s up against you, you either fold or you stand up to it, you go into it. I’ve stepped right into it. And people have now made you out to be this villain, when in fact, the way you shoot the ball, the way you play the game, they don’t vilify guys that do that. But they’ve done that to you.”
While it has appeared that Young enjoys playing the role of villain, the two-time All-Star told Green he “doesn’t really like being that way.”
“Like you said, s— ain’t really fun being a villain,” Young said when asked if he embraces the role of villain at times.
“I really just feed off the crowd. I really don’t like being that way. But it’s been that way from high school when I was averaging 40 my senior year in high school. That’s kind of what it was. I was going into other arenas, and they were chanting ‘overrated’ if I wasn’t scoring.
“I’m not like that type of person,” Young added. “I’d rather just go out there, put on a show, have fun, smile and get the win. But if it happens that way, like you said, I ain’t about to turn down from anything.”
There might not be a player better suited to sympathize with Young on the issue of filling the role of a villain than Green.
During the 2021-2022 NBA Finals, Green heard numerous “f— you, Draymond” chants from the Boston Celtics crowd, and he drew the ire of the Sacramento Kings fan base after stomping on the chest of Domantas Sabonis during Golden State’s playoff series in April.