You can rarely see politicians calling out NBA players - it was only a thing when the former President and LeBron James had beef, but usually, it isn't something that occurs very often. However, we're living in strange times, in which, for example, the Knicks are great again. So, it's perfectly normal for the mayor to step in for the sake of the organization.
During his daily news conference, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio sent a message to Trae Young. Wearing a Knicks hat, De Blasio pointed out that Young should play the game the right way.
"I have an important official announcement. This is a very serious one to get out. Message to Trae Young on behalf of the people of New York City, and anyone who cares about actually playing basketball the right way - stop hunting for fouls, Trae. I want to quote Steve Nash - great player, great coach. He says, 'That's not basketball.' Trae, that Hawk is not going to fly in this city. C'mon. Play the game the right way. See if you could win. I think the Knicks are going to teach you a lesson."
Bill de Blasio, Yahoo Sports
Those are some bold words from the Mayor, who spoke for a team that lost the first playoff game against Trae's Hawks by two points. Still, De Blasio may have a valid point here. We all know that Trae is a natural bucket-getter, but his questionable tactics to get foul calls are the reason why he doesn't have that many fans outside of Atlanta. However, his foul-drawing technique is useful for the Hawks, as Trae has averaged 8.7 free-throw attempts in the regular season.
According to Trae, he will continue to play that way, even though the opponents and most fans don't like it. De Blasio quoted Nash, who complained to the referees about Young's game during the Nets vs. Knicks game in late December. After the match, Young fired back at Nash.
"I bet if I was playing for Steve, he'd be happy. It's something in the midst of competition that he was wanting to win, and I was wanting to win, and I'm gonna do whatever it takes. I think him wanting to get in the refs' ears a little bit was just trying to help him. I learned a lot about drawing fouls from him. If he says it's not basketball, he must've been saying it about himself because he's done it a couple of times throughout his career and was so successful."
Trae might've seen Nash do it at times, but he took it to a whole other level. To be fair, he's not the only guy to do it, and we hope this is one of the things the NBA addresses this summer. If we wanted to see flopping, we'd watch soccer.