NBA

Trae Young Might Have Just Won Over the Entire City of Atlanta

Trae Young has been one of this season’s most electrifying players. Few NBA stars can rival his set of offensive gifts. Young has also been a polarizing player at times. Critics point out that his talent on offense is more or less negated by his complete lack of defensive chops.

Good luck trying to explain those flaws to Hawks fans, though. Young has endeared himself to the city of Atlanta not just as a scoring machine but through his generous off-court activities, too. Let’s look at the point guard’s impressive gifts on and off the court.

Trae Young’s NBA career

Technically, the Mavericks chose Young with the No. 5 pick of the 2018 draft, as the Atlanta Journal explains. Yet Dallas had previously reached a deal to swap their pick, along with a protected future first-round pick, to the Hawks for their No. 3 pick. Atlanta used the pick on Luka Doncic, who they sent on to the Mavs in exchange for Young and the future first-rounder.

Young showed ample potential during his rookie season, starting in all 81 games played. During the season, he put up averages of 19.1 points and 8.1 assists per game. On several occasions, he also showed his explosiveness as a scorer. He put up a season-high 49 points in a game against the Bulls.

This season, Young took an even greater leap. Through his first 40 games, he has averages of 29.2 points, 8.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. In November 2019, the 21-year-old racked up another 49-point game. Whereas his 49-point game in the 2018-19 season transpired in almost 56 minutes in an overtime game, this year’s outburst happened in just 42 minutes.

Young’s scoring versatility and overall efficiency have put him firmly in the All-Star debate this year. Even if he doesn’t make the All-Star team, there’s no doubt Young is a superstar in the making.

Young gives back to Atlanta

Most of Young’s press this year focuses on his explosive scoring as well as the Hawks’ struggle to win. Yet the point guard’s recent headlines focused on his off-court work to improve the local community.

Young partnered with a nonprofit, RIP Medical Debt, to eliminate over $1 million of medical debt for Atlanta-area families. His involvement came via his Trae Young Foundation. Together, the initiative eliminated an average of $1,858 of debt for 570 individuals.

While the headlines may make it seem like Young donated all of that money, this wasn’t how it worked out. Instead, his donation was used to buy up debt portfolios at a fraction of their value. According to RIP Medical Debt, every $1 donated ultimately pays off around $100 in debt. In total, Young put $10,000 toward the initiative.

Young’s motivations and Atlanta’s response

In discussing his generous gesture, Young emphasized how much Atlanta has meant to him in his career. He expressed gratitude at being welcomed into the community “with open arms.” Ultimately, Young’s gesture showed his commitment to bringing positive social change to the local community.

Young’s gesture received unanimous praise from many NBA players, including Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie. Even presidential candidate Bernie Sanders praised Young on Twitter, calling his gesture “extremely generous.”

The Hawks player is clearly on his way to building a reputation as one of the league’s most talented and open-hearted stars.

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