Trae Young finds a way to get booed at Madison Square Garden during the offseason

Hawks star leans into heel persona as special guest star of WWE Smackdown

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He can’t hear you.
He can’t hear you.
Screenshot: WWE Smackdown

Last night’s WWE Smackdown card included a 10-man tag team match, which in itself is fairly uncommon. The match was scheduled to be Sami Zayn, Otis, Apollo Crews, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode (the heels) to battle Big E, Rick Boogs, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Rey and Dominik Mysterio.

Zayn, per usual, got on the mic before the match, and while inexplicably wearing a Kevin Knox jersey. (Admittedly expected it to be Allan Houston before his back was caught on camera.)

Turns out, Zayn brought a special guest to The Garden to stand alongside the heels: Atlanta Hawks point guard, and 2021 Knicks playoff killer, Trae Young.


Young appeared in an Atlanta Hawks hoodie and totally leaned into the chorus of boos he was immediately met with upon entry. He looked around, nodded, pointed his ear toward the audience to encourage them to grow louder in their disapproval, and the heels sold the hell out of it. 

Young even involved himself in the match. At one point, to help Zayn, Young choked Rey Mysterio while the former World Champion had been left on the ropes. The referee caught this, and Young was subsequently ejected from the match to the delight of the crowd. Zayn’s team subsequently lost.

Young even participated in a backstage interview segment where he indicated that the Knicks fans still seemed “upset about what happened in the playoffs,” and when Zayn interrupted him, he then became annoyed. Young did say he’ll see Zayn in Atlanta. The WWE is planning a 2022 Kickoff Show in at the State Farm Arena, the Hawks’ home venue, on Saturday, January 1, 2022. The Hawks will be in the midst of a road-trip during that time, but they play in Cleveland the night before, and don’t return to game action until January 3 in Portland. Maybe Young could secure a flight from Cleveland to Atlanta in the meantime, then join his team back on the west coast.


Furthermore, in a week where the WWE officially lost Adam Cole and Bryan Danielson to AEW, who is growing into more of a competitor by the day, Young doesn’t help them from a wrestling standpoint, but getting him to be part of their NYC is a damn smart move in the short-term. Hopefully, for their sake, they could organize a January 1 continuation and payoff around the rigorous NBA schedule. The Knicks are in Oklahoma City the night before and have a game in Toronto the following afternoon, so it’ll be difficult but perhaps not impossible, for, say, an RJ Barrett and or Julius Randle run-in.