NBA legend Reggie Miller thinks Trae Young is enjoying the villainous role in road games during the 2021 NBA playoffs. The spectacular Young has several iconic moments in the playoffs, notably when he silenced the Knicks crowd after a game-winning shot.
"It's his confidence; that's what I love most about him. People say borderline cocky. I don't mind that. I like a guy who is confident in his skills. People have got to understand what it takes to be not only a professional athlete but the skillset Trae has. The shooting, the dribbling, the teardrops, the floaters, the runners - that's countless hours in the gym."
"I respect that because I've been there. I know that. There's a lot of sacrifice that goes into that. I like the ego that he has. It's something that's fun to watch."Reggie Miller
Young is leading the Atlanta Hawks to one of the most successful playoff runs in franchise history. The 22-year-old guard is averaging 30.5 points and 10.5 assists through 13 games. Out of all players remaining in the playoffs, Young ranks first in points and assists averages.
New York Knicks met Young with a specially hostile surrounding. Notably, Knicks fans had several insulting chants towards Young, such as "Trae Young is balding" whenever he'd shoot free throws. However, Young didn't crumble under pressure. On the contrary, he embraced it, just like the rest of the Hawks' team did.
Miller, now NBA commentator for TNT, has nothing but respect for Young. That's not a surprise, considering Miller himself was often deemed as cocky and arrogant. Miller is also one of the most popular trash-talkers in the history of the game.
Miller himself was once the NBA's antagonist when the Indiana Pacers were a tough challenge for the Chicago Bulls in 1998. There weren't many players who dared to stand up against the NBA's biggest star, Michael Jordan, but Miller was one of them
"Not everyone is going to be able to wear the white hat and be cheered and adored in foreign buildings. Michael Jordan was adored everywhere he played, not only at home but on the road. He was the best player. I embraced, and I loved wearing the black hat. It kind of looks like Trae enjoys being on the road, performing at the highest stakes and quieting crowds."
"I think it's all a mindset, and I think he's accepting that he's not the beloved player. Certainly, at home, he is. But his skill set is so good, and he's so talented. I think the reason people boo and jeer is they respect his game. I hope he feels that way. He's only 22 years old. He has a lifetime of a career left."
"But I hope he understands the reason they're saying and doing these things is that they really respect his game. I think he'll appreciate it the older he gets."Reggie Miller
Young had a historic performance in Game 1, dropping 48 points and adding 10 assists. Certainly, Young is looking to reproduce some of that magical performance in the rest of the series against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.