There’s a lot that goes into assessing a professional athlete’s value.
There are scouting reports, which deconstruct a particular player’s strengths and weaknesses; there are statistics, which tell you exactly how many points, rebounds, or whatever else said player has accrued; and there are intangibles, such as killer instinct (Kobe Bryant) or high basketball IQ (LeBron James) that are incredibly important, but don’t always show up in the box score.
On Wednesday night, Atlanta Hawks flamethrower Trae Young continued his postseason reign of terror with a historical 48-point performance to propel the Hawks past the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The scouting report will laud his court vision and poise, as well as his struggles from beyond the arc (he was 4-13 last night, and has been firing at a paltry 32 percent clip the entire postseason). The box score confirms his superstar ascension: 48 points, 11 dimes, and 7 boards in 41 minutes of damage. And as far as those intangibles go, clearly he’s shifty off the dribble and entirely capable of still impacting the game when his shot isn’t falling.
But did you see that shimmy?!?
With just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter, and his Hawks up 83-78, Ice Trae hit Jrue Holiday with a nasty crossover straight out of an And1 Mixtape. And to add insult to injury, prior to letting freedom ring with a savage three-pointer, Young threw in a complimentary Harlem Shake for the culture:
Lord Jesus. This is a supervillain’s origin story if I’ve ever seen one.
NBA Twitter had plenty to say, but weren’t the only ones who took note. Immediately afterward, you could see Giannis Antetokounmpo yelling at his teammates about the embarrassing stunt during a timeout.
However, after the game, Giannis assured reporters that Trae’s shimmy was all in fun.
“He’s just having fun. He’s enjoying the game,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously I wouldn’t want him to make the shot, but he’s having fun. He’s enjoying the game. We’re going to do the same as a team. We’re going to have fun. We’re going to enjoy the game. There’s going to be times that Bryn [Forbes] or Jrue [Holiday] might shimmy or whatever the case might be. I might mean mug. It’s just part of the game. It’s nothing. You can’t take that personally.”
Trae, however, attributed his “Let’s Get It” tribute to fatigue.
“Yeah, I mean, I had a lot of time,” he told reporters after the game. “I was kind of tired a little bit, so I got a second to get a deep breath and knock it down.”
For the Bucks sake, they better hope and pray that Trae doesn’t get “fatigued” again, or their postseason will be drawing to a close faster than you can say, “Shimmy, shimmy ya.”