It’s been over two years since Trae Young torched the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, but unsurprisingly, it’s still a topic of discussion.
Like several other NBA stars, Young started a podcast this offseason, “From the Point by Trae Young.” In the most recent episode on August 8, former NBA player Gilbert Arenas was Young’s guest. The two discussed many topics, including Kobe Bryant and Young’s performance in the 2021 postseason.
Arenas is known for offering controversial takes, and what he had to say about Young and the Hawks defeating the Knicks in 2021 was no different.
Gilbert Arenas says Trae Young didn’t get respect he deserved from 2021 Knicks playoff series
Gilbert Arenas said that Trae Young was “supposed to go down as the man that destroyed the Garden” and that if any other player did what Young did, they’d be regarded as a “god.” Young agreed with Arenas’ sentiment and said, “It’s always some type of excuse,” in response to him supposedly not getting the respect he felt he deserved.
Let’s not forget that Young wore shoes that had “King of Broadway” written on them in orange font against a blue background when the Hawks visited MSG in December of 2022. Guess how that worked out for him? New York destroyed Atlanta in a 113-89 win in which Young scored 19 points and shot 9-of-20 from the field to be a team-worst +/- of -26.
Young was labeled as the newest Knicks villain after beating New York in the playoffs, a role he seemingly embraced even though he’s since said he doesn’t like being regarded as a villain. Young said so on Draymond Green’s podcast this offseason, which also featured Green taking a dig at Knicks fans.
It’s interesting that Young said being a villain is “no fun,” especially when you look back on his King of Broadway shoes. That was a decision that didn’t work out in his favor. In fact, Young is 5-12 against the Knicks since he entered the league in 2018, but his regular season record against New York isn’t what NBA fans think about; it’s the 2021 playoffs.
Young was dubbed the King of New York once Atlanta secured the 4-1 series win over the Knicks. Highlights of him torching the Knicks in the Garden still haunt New York fans to this day, although the Knicks redeeming themselves in the first round of the playoffs this past year helped to erase most of that pain.
It’s not that Young wasn’t properly credited for what he did in the 2021 postseason; it’s that he hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype since then. The truth is that the Knicks are a significantly better team than they were a couple of years ago, but the same can’t be said for Trae Young and the Hawks.