Hawks' Trae Young sends strong message on $36 million project

Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young shared his sentiments about a multi-million venture in his hometown of Norman, Oklahoma.

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young made his presence felt during All-Star weekend. But the dynamic point guard is also big on giving back to the community.

How big?

His father, Rayford Young, had to talk him out of footing the entire $36 million bill to fund the Young Family Athletic Center, a 122,000-square-foot facility located on none other than Trae Young Drive in his hometown of Norman, Oklahoma.

Young was not in Oklahoma for the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday. But he did send a heartfelt message to those in attendance.

“Everybody there, thank you everybody for coming,” Young said via video on February 19. 

“It’s an honor to be part of this project. It’s something that’s always important to me because when I was a kid, I was always playing at the YMCA. It always helped me become who I wanted to be. So being able to have this facility where the next kid can be whatever they want to be is gonna be extremely important and an awesome feeling for me.”

Young noted that his family would be using the facilities that include eight basketball courts, 18 pickleball courts, 12 volleyball courts, a 74-foot video screen, and two swimming pools.

Construction on the facilities began in 2021.

Young attended the ceremony to rename the street after him in November 2023, drawing praise from teammate Dejounte Murray over the “legendary” accomplishment. In 2022, the NBA recognized his charitable efforts with an NBA Cares Community Assist Award.

“We gotta continue to make sure that we spread positivity throughout this location. The gym, tell all your friends about it, and continue to have fun while you use it.”

Trae Young addresses Hawks trade rumors

Young helped fuel the trade rumors that have lurked in the background for much of the last two seasons over the All-Star break. Reporters asked what he thought San Antonio Spurs big man and No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama needed around him to succeed.

Young’s description sounded a lot like himself.

“The kind of player that can help him win a championship. Make his job easier, just help him" Young said. "That’s the type of player he needs.”

Young has spoken highly of Wembanyama before. And the Spurs were rumored to be one of the teams Young would be willing to accept a trade to if he is dealt. But Young also addressed the trade rumors that surfaced before the trade deadline.

“It's part of it,” Young said about the rumors via Jameelah Johnson on February 18. “ But, obviously, my mindset is staying in Atlanta right now, and uh I don't get caught up in all the rumors and stuff. My contract is locked in for a couple years, so I don't have very much saying it right now.”

Young is in the second year of a five-year, $215 million contract.