Trae Young made his return to Madison Square Garden for the first time since the NBA playoffs on Friday night. He guest-starred on a September 10th edition of WWE's Friday Night Smackdown. Accompanying resident heel character, Sami Zayn, Trae Young came out to the dismay of the New York crowd.
Knicks fans in attendance didn't take very kindly to seeing the star point guard again so soon, especially since Zayn introduced him as "someone who actually knows what it takes to win in Madison Square Garden."
Young led his Atlanta Hawks to the Eastern Conference finals in the 2021 NBA playoffs. The run kickstarted with a five-game series victory over the New York Knicks, with the matchup coming to a close at MSG. With that in mind, this reaction shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
All that said, this did not come without some fan service to close out. After running interference in the ensuing 10-Man tag match, Trae Young got tossed from the match to the roar of the crowd.
Trae Young vs. New York
As previously mentioned, Trae Young led his Atlanta Hawks past the New York Knicks in the NBA playoffs this past season. In the Knicks' first postseason appearance since 2013, the Hawks held the upper hand for most of the series. Young, in particular, stood out as a top performer throughout the matchup. He averaged 29.2 points and 9.8 assists per game against New York, with a plus/minus of +47.
This late appearance on WWE Smackdown allowed him to delve further into the villainous role he has made out for himself.
Given the crowd's reaction on Friday, it seems as though the local fans haven't forgotten what went down. With both the Knicks and Hawks having their eyes set on another playoff appearance in 2022, this burgeoning rivalry may still grow yet. Young and the Hawks will make their return to MSG to play the Knicks on Christmas day.